Which superstar comes out on top?


Patrick Mahomes and Shohei Ohtani are the two biggest superstars in their respective sports today. While the quarterback has spent his entire career with the Kansas City Chiefs, winning two Super Bowls with them and transforming the franchise, the two-way baseball star has just confirmed his move to the Los Angeles Dodgers.

Shohei Ohtani’s 10-year $700 million deal mirrors the decade-long contract the Chiefs quarterback signed back in 2020. But the value of the baseball star’s deal far outstrips what the footballer signed, which was valued at $450 million. At the time, it was the biggest deal in sports history based on total contract value. And now, Ohtani has matched him in that regard.

But given that the two players entered the professional scene, in the USA at least, at roughly the same time, we explore how their career earnings have accumulated so far.

Patrick Mahomes and Shohei Ohtani: who has more career earnings?

Patrick Mahomes began his NFL career in 2017 and Shohei Ohtani followed him the next year into the MLB in 2018.

Starting as a rookie, his salary was $465,000 in the first year along with a signing bonus of over $10 million. He ended up earning approximately $10.5 million that year. While on his rookie contract in the 2018 and 2019, he earned less than $2 million per year, before he secured the blockbuster deal in 2020.

In 2020, his salary was still less than $1 million but he secured a $10 million signing bonus, earning a little above $10.5 million that year. In 2021, he received a restructure bonus of over $21 million, which brought his earnings that year to $22 million. Last year, he earned above $29 million, with more than $27 million coming as a roster bonus.

He restructued his contract within the total topline of $450 million this year and is slated to earn nearly $60 million, with the majority coming in the form of signing, roster and restructure bonuses. Over his career, adding it all up, he has earned a total of above $135 million.

Patrick Mahomes career earnings (Taken from Sportrac.com)
Patrick Mahomes career earnings (Taken from Sportrac.com)

On the other hand, Shohei Ohtani has mainly earned from the contract he had this year with the Los Angeles Angels that netted him an estimated $30 million in an one-year contract. In 2018, when he started and finished as the AL Rookie of the Year, his salary was roughly half a million and earned $2.3 million estimated in signing onus. In 2019 and 2020, his salary remained below a million in both years.

In 2021 and 2022, he earned $3 million and $5.5 million estimated per year as his star rose, before the mamoth deal this year. His total career earnings are, therefore, far lower than Patrick Mahomes and stand at around $42 million.

Shohei Ohtani career earnings (Taken from Spotrac.com)
Shohei Ohtani career earnings (Taken from Spotrac.com)

Can Patrick Mahomes catch up anytime soon to Shohei Ohtani’s $700 million deal?

Currently, Patrick Mahomes’ $450 million deal is dwarfed by the one Shohei Ohtani signed for $700 million, both being 10-years deals. However, there are certain things to consider.

Firstly, MLB, unlike the NFL, does not have a salary cap. So, Ohtani’s deal, for example, is more than the entire outlay for the Oakland Athletics or the Baltimore Orioles. Furthermore, Mahomes has prioritized winning more rings, as per his own telling, than being the highest-paid player in the NFL, which is Joe Burrow of the Cincinnati Bengals presently with a $55 annual average value.

Considering the above, it is unlikely that the quarterback will ever reach a deal value of $700 million. However, as his 2023 restructure showed, he is expected to remain near the top earners in the NFL. As the biggest sports star in the most popular sports in the USA, that will allow him to always compete with the best in any other sports, especially in off-field earnings.

Shohei Ohtani, meanwhile, will earn nearly 62% percent more than the likes of Max Scherzer and Justin Verlander, whose deals are worth $42.3 million dollars a year. Some would argue, though, that even that is less considering he can both hit and pitch and therefore should be worth double.

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