If all goes according to plan, Patrick Mahomes will be in Kansas City for the next 12 years. How many New York Jets have lasted that long?
Earlier this week, Patrick Mahomes earned himself a mighty surplus of ketchup funds.
The Kansas City Chiefs quarterback made financial history on Monday, inking a 10-year contract extension with the potential to reach $503 million. It’s the first half-billion-dollar deal in American potential sports history.
Save for their scheduled matchup this November, the New York Jets perhaps have little to worry about when it comes to writing such a check. They’re a rebuilding squad and are still searching for an identity as they enter a new decade of football. It’s certainly enticing for Kansas City fans to envision at least a dozen more seasons of Mahomes antics under center (counting the two left on his original rookie deal), one can certainly wonder if Mahomes play the contract out to its fullest. A dozen more seasons equates to a whopping total of 192 regular season games.
Just how hard is it to reach that plateau? ESM looks back on the rare Jets who managed to put up that number in a green uniform…
K Pat Leahy (250 games)
Leahy didn’t even play college football, have starred on the soccer pitch at Saint Louis University (even earning All-American honors as a Billiken). After two training camp stints with the local Cardinals, he signed on with the Jets after Bobby Howling’s 1974 injury and didn’t look back for nearly 18 years. By the time he retired in 1992 (only departing due to a sciatic nerve condition), Leahy owned pretty much every meaningful scoring and kicking record in the Jets’ history books. He remains the all-time points leader in Jets history at 1,470, which is currently good for 26th in NFL history (fifth among players who spent their entire career with one team).
G Randy Rasmussen (207 games)
As the last player to retire from the Jets’ legendary 1968 squad, Rasmussen is the last Jets Super Bowl champion to partake in an NFL game. Save for an eight-game stretch in his penultimate season, Rasmussen was incredibly durable during his run, missing just three games outside of that outlier campaign in 1980. Rasmussen even earned a touchdown during his NFL career, recovering a fumble in the end zone during a 1972 loss to Miami at Shea Stadium.
LB Kyle Clifton (204 games)
No one in New York has earned more takedowns than Clifton, who put up 1,468 solo stops in his NFL career. He led the league in tackles on three occasions ranks 10th in NFL history in the combined variety (1,484). Current free agent Antoine Bethea is the closest active player to knocking him out of the spot (1,333).
LB Mo Lewis (200 games)
Lewis is perhaps best known for his indirect role in NFL history, as he’s the one whose tackle of Drew Bledsoe gave way to Tom Brady in 2001. But his mark on Jets and the NFL, in general, goes far beyond that single play. Along with Clifton, Lewis is one of two Jets with at least 1,000 tackles (1,232) and he also reached the Pro Bowl three times. Lewis was named to the Jets’ 40th anniversary squad, as well as the first 1998 All-Pro team en route to the Jets’ AFC Championship Game appearance.
T Winston Hill (195 games)
The late Hill’s legendary career finally got the ending it rightfully deserved in January, as the Super Bowl starter was elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Joe Namath’s entire career saw Hill protect his blindside, as the pair event spent one non-Jets season as members of the Los Angeles Rams. Winston Hill’s Ribs & Stuff, a barbecue restaurant Hill formed decades after his retirement, continues to operate in Littleton, Colorado.
G/T Dan Alexander (192 games)
Alexander was drafted in the eighth round of the 1977 draft out of LSU and carved out a 13-year career in New York. He was, in fact, drafted as a defensive lineman but was switched to the other side of the ball in the midst of his first training camp. Alexander also partook in seven playoff games and didn’t miss a game until his 11th year on the job.
Geoff Magliocchetti is on Twitter @GeoffJMags