Brett Veach's plan for taking care of superstar quarterback Patrick Mahomes, who signed a massive 10-year contract extension with the Chiefs Monday, didn't develop this offseason.
Instead, the wheels were set in motion during the NFL's free agency period in 2018, Veach's first experience with player signings in the role of general manager for Kansas City's storied franchise.
"Going back to the first free agency that I was a part of, we had the mindset to structure deals to prepare for an extension for Pat," Veach said Tuesday. "It goes to the level and belief and faith that we had in Pat. This was before he was a full-time starter.
"Now, the one thing in Pat's favor is as the season went on, the number kept getting bigger and bigger."
It most certainly did.
Mahomes provided a good hint of his worth in 2018, throwing for 5,097 yards and 50 touchdowns in leading the Chiefs to a 12-4 record and appearance in the AFC Championship Game. He garnered first-team All-Pro honors and a Pro Bowl selection after that stellar first full season as the Chiefs' starting quarterback.
As he continued his meteoric rise, the Chiefs grasped the enormity of what was ahead for Mahomes based not on other football contracts, but by looking at contracts in an entirely differing professional sport:
When Los Angeles Angels centerfielder Mike Trout signed a then-record $426.5 million contract in March 2019, waves were felt at the Chiefs' training facility.
So much so, in fact, that Brandt Tillis, the team's director of football administration, suggested to Veach that he should think big when contemplating Mahomes next contract. Very big.
"I remember when the Trout deal came out," Veach said. "Brandt came done to my office and said, 'Pat's going to be a baseball contract. I mean, that's how good this kid's going to be, and we need to start thinking like this.'"
A little more than a year later, the Chiefs have rewarded their star quarterback with riches never before seen in pro football.
Mahomes, fresh off a Super Bowl victory over the San Francisco 49ers in February in which he was named the game's MVP, overtook Trout's deal by agreeing to a mind-blowing contract extension worth up to $503 million.
He is pro sports' first half-billion-dollar athlete.
"It's been a team effort the entire way," Mahomes said Tuesday. "I mean, that's the special thing about this organization, is like what Veach said: There's trust among everybody.
"As much as I trusted them, they trusted me, and we were able to go out there and get this contract done the right way that not only gives me the security that I've always wanted, but also allows opportunity for the team to be great around me the entire duration of my career. I have full trust that things will get handled the right way as we go throughout this career and we can be in position to win a lot of football games, and hopefully win a lot more championships as my career goes on."
Just 24, Mahomes has already become the fastest player in NFL history to reach 7,500 career passing yards. He is 23-7 over the past two seasons and led the Chiefs to their first Super Bowl championship in 50 years.
Mahomes, who turns 25 on Sept. 17, has recorded 9,128 passing yards and 76 touchdowns with just 17 interceptions, and has rushed for 490 yards and four touchdowns on 103 carries.
Gaudy production, to be sure, but Veach knew from day one what he had in Mahomes, whom the Chiefs selected in the first round (10th overall) of the 2017 NFL Draft.
The talent was always there, but Veach saw more than scoring potential in Mahomes. He recognized in Mahomes an uncommon maturity level and desire to make Kansas City his long-term home.
All it took to execute Monday's mega-deal was some careful planning, and that really began a couple of years ago.
"Pat was so committed to this city and wanted certainly security like every player does, but also wanted to be here and to win, and to establish a dynasty," Veach said. "He said, 'Shoot, let's be creative, let's figure out a way to do this; I want to be here for the rest of my career and I want to win.'
"So, the discussions on this contract have really been years in the making."