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Patrick Mahomes doesn’t have a preferred team, officially

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Hiding in plain sight among the NFL’s various P.R. gaffes is one the most brilliant masterstrokes in the history of shaping opinion: The idea that it’s somehow an honor to prevent a football player from selecting the pro football team for which he’ll play.

The draft process, which runs counter to the American notion of open markets and freedom of choice, prevents employees from selecting the company for which they will work. Instead, the employees are assigned to their employers based on a rotation that allows the employers to secure dibs on them.

The draft has become part of the league’s bedrock, even though it’s relevance to competitive balance in the age of free agency and the salary cap is minimal. And the employees who aspire to be drafted as high as possible are wired to take a step back and ask, “Shouldn’t I be picking the team instead of the team picking me?”

I posed that question to former Texas Tech quarterback Patrick Mahomes II on Thursday’s PFT Live. He provided the same response that, frankly, I would have given at the age of 21, while on the brink of hoping to be picked as early as possible.

“I guess you could say that but at the same time it’s really exciting,” Mahomes said. “You get to go into draft day, it’s gonna be a dream come true. I’m gonna get to sit there and watch the draft and hopefully get that phone call and get drafted. I mean you’re gonna be excited to go no matter where it is. They’re all great teams, all great cities and I just wanna get there now and hopefully get to the right team with the right coaching.”

At the tail end of the answer came a whisper of deviation from the standqard pre-draft talking point. He wants to get to the “right team with the right coaching.” But if that happens, it won’t be the product of Mahomes’ decision-making process; it will be a result of the right team with the right coaching deciding Mahomes is the right guy. What if the wrong team with the wrong coaching picks Mahomes? For at least four and maybe five years, there’s nothing he can do about it.

“There’s definitely no team that I’d prefer not to play for,” Mahomes added. “I really just want a team that has great coaching and that can really help me develop to be the best quarterback I can be and hopefully win a few championships.”

The truth could be at Mahomes simply isn’t able at this point to identify which teams will, and which teams won’t, help him fulfill that objective. And since neither he nor any other draft pick will have any say over where he will be, there’s no reason for Mahomes to try to figure out where he’d like to be drafted, and where he wouldn’t like to be drafted. The draft culture compels the players to compete for the false honor of being drafted as high as possible, with the hope that their NFL careers won’t be derailed by the wrong team and the wrong coaching at the wrong time.

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14 Responses to “Patrick Mahomes doesn’t have a preferred team, officially”
  1. rclindhe says: Feb 23, 2017 6:11 PM

    For most NFL players (I’d say all, but you never know), the prospect of getting a SB ring is one of the major goals of a career. With a very small pool of likely Super Bowl contenders in a normally short career, I’d say these players should have a say in where they go.

  2. thegreatgabbert says: Feb 23, 2017 6:21 PM

    Without the draft, Cleveland would be suiting up the stadium groundskeepers to put a team on the field. Which might not be a bad idea, really.

  3. charliecharger says: Feb 23, 2017 6:23 PM

    This kid played baseball up until last year. His dad was a MLB player too. He has the choice to play in the CFL, NFL, Arena League, or could enter the MLB draft. He has lots of choices. He will probably choose the NFL, because of the way they run the league, with the draft and all, it’s very popular and the players make tons and tons of money. But it’s the kid’s choice. He can choose to do whatever he wants to do. He doesn’t even have to play football if he doesn’t want to.

  4. ncphinsfan says: Feb 23, 2017 6:26 PM

    There is a simple solution. Don’t accept your Draft Team and sit out a year and then you become a UDFA. Of course you just went from $30M and a Jet ride to about $450K and a Bus ticket.

  5. harrietknutczak says: Feb 23, 2017 6:55 PM

    No one wants to play for the factory of sadness….

  6. halfcentaur says: Feb 23, 2017 7:36 PM

    With a very small pool of likely Super Bowl contenders in a normally short career, I’d say these players should have a say in where they go.
    Oh yeah, let’s just have every top prospect give themselves jobs with the same handful of teams year after year. That would make the league super fun, like watching Alabama beat up on the SEC year after year after year.

    People have horrible ideas.

  7. scoocha says: Feb 23, 2017 7:44 PM

    Beggars shouldn’t be choosers. This Big 12 bust will be lucky to start 10 games in his entire career.

  8. jander05 says: Feb 23, 2017 7:55 PM

    The point of the draft is parity. You dont want the same big market teams winning every year because everyone wants to play for those teams. The salary cap and the draft are very important to league balance. Players can pick where they play on their second contract.

  9. kcflake says: Feb 23, 2017 8:00 PM

    Mahomes, chiefs fans want u in kc.

  10. screamingyellowzonkers says: Feb 23, 2017 8:11 PM

    Well, it’s not just the NFL that isn’t adhering to a “freedom of choice” mentality. Are you proposing that all pro sports drop the draft?

    The NFL isn’t even close to be running as a “free choice” operation.
    Salary cap is liberal control of money.
    Forced trans gender bathrooms isn’t freedom
    Calling penalties isn’t freedom of playing the game.
    Political correctness inside and out.

    I would argue that the NFL is a totally controlled liberal utopia.
    And you are concerned about a player choosing their team?

  11. cougar69rt03 says: Feb 23, 2017 9:35 PM

    Florio you wont get rid of the draft . With no draft you would go back to maybe the original teams plus a few added . Only a half dozen teams succeed since the majority of new players would all wind up with 3 or 4 biggest teams

  12. bartpkelly says: Feb 24, 2017 12:18 AM

    The draft process, which runs counter to the American notion of open markets and freedom of choice

    No it doesn’t. You play for the NFL and they tell you which department you will be in. After you prove yourself you can change departments. You can negotiate your salary after a trial period.

    The NFL is not many different businesses – it is one.

  13. mburkett1980 says: Feb 24, 2017 6:26 AM

    In this instance, the “employer” these young men are choosing to work for is the NFL. If they’re voluntarily, on their own, choosing to be a part of this particular company (the NFL), then they have to abide by that employer’s rules for what city they will be based.

    If they don’t like that employer’s terms for work, they can go find a regular job elsewhere.

    Last time I checked, these guys are paid pretty well for this “inconvenience,” even those on minimum salary.

  14. yooperman says: Feb 24, 2017 9:57 AM

    “The point of the draft is parity. You dont want the same big market teams winning every year because everyone wants to play for those teams.”

    You mean “big market teams” like the LA and NY?

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