OWINGS MILLS, Md. — Patrick Mahomes signed the highest-valued contract in American professional sports in July when he struck a 10-year, $450 million extension with the Kansas City Chiefs.
Baltimore Ravens defensive coordinator Don “Wink” Martindale, who faces Mahomes on Monday night, considers that a bargain.
“They could’ve paid him a billion,” Martindale said Friday. “I’d still think he’s underpaid.”
Martindale has a lot of respect for the reigning Super Bowl MVP because Mahomes is the one quarterback who has consistently gotten the better of Baltimore. The Ravens have allowed the third-fewest passing yards in the league (203.7) since Martindale took over as defensive coordinator at the start of the 2018 season.
Baltimore has given up over 350 yards passing only three times during that span — and two have come against Mahomes, who has thrown for five touchdowns and one interception in two victories over the Ravens. Mahomes passed for 377 yards in 2018 — the most against a Martindale defense — and threw for 374 yards last season.
“The mobile-type quarterbacks, you have to defend the first play, the second play and sometimes the third play,” Martindale said. “With the way he throws the football, you have to stay on your coverage no matter what. He can be on one side of the field and throw all the way across the other.”
While the Ravens know they have to account for Mahomes’ athleticism and ability to buy time, they also have to figure out a way to outsmart him. Baltimore has sacked Mahomes only four times on 96 dropbacks. Martindale, who is known for his aggressive blitz packages, praised Mahomes for how he can diagnose pre-snap where the pressure is coming from and call the correct protection to negate it.
“He has that football IQ level of [Tom] Brady and [Peyton] Manning,” Martindale said.
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