As Andy Reid retirement speculation lingers, Chiefs QB Patrick Mahomes calls it 'highly doubtful'

LAS VEGAS — If there’s a retirement coming at any juncture following the Super Bowl, Andy Reid is apparently going to surprise a lot of people with it.

This week the three other most powerful individuals in the Kansas City Chiefs organization have said they don’t see the head coach retiring after Sunday's game against the San Francisco 49ers. That includes team owner Clark Hunt, who said he believes Reid still has a long tenure left in him, as well as general manager Brett Veach, who spends time with Reid every day and said he hasn’t heard an inkling of Reid having thoughts of stepping away. And then there’s quarterback Patrick Mahomes, who added Thursday that he was skeptical of a Reid retirement in the wake of this Super Bowl.

“I’m highly doubtful, because he enjoys it every single day,” Mahomes said. “He loves it. And he comes to work with that energy every single day. So it would be very surprising to me. I haven’t gotten any sense of that — in any sense.”

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That doesn’t necessarily mean Reid isn’t going to take time to contemplate his future after the season. It also doesn’t mean the speculation about him retiring came from nowhere. In fact, it likely has roots in a stretch early last offseason, when a complicated scenario started to circulate in the NFL agent community involving Reid and Sean Payton.

According to a prominent coaching agent, there was speculation in the agent community last January that Reid might coach only one more season in Kansas City — through 2023 and the playoffs — and then retire. It was a development that would have created a scenario where Payton could return to broadcasting for one more year and then pursue the Chiefs' job after Reid’s retirement. However, the agent said the scenario never gained traction after it became clear there was no certainty of a Reid retirement date and Payton ultimately took the Denver Broncos job.

LAS VEGAS, NEVADA - FEBRUARY 05: (L-R) Patrick Mahomes, head coach Andy Reid, and Travis Kelce of the Kansas City Chiefs walk across the field during Super Bowl LVIII Opening Night at Allegiant Stadium on February 05, 2024 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Chris Unger/Getty Images)
Will Kansas City Chiefs head coach Andy Reid (right) retire after the Super Bowl? Patrick Mahomes doesn't think so. (Photo by Chris Unger/Getty Images)

Whether the recent speculation is a lingering echo of that agent buzz more than a year ago is hard to say, particularly given that Reid will turn 66 in March and had a health scare during the 2021 season. And when you add in the general grind of extended playoff runs — and nobody has had more than Reid in the past six years — it’s not uncommon for coaches to reflect on the toll it takes. It wasn’t that long ago that Payton took a year off and even Sean McVay was ruminating on a career in broadcasting to take a break from coaching.

There’s also the financial aspect to consider, although there hasn’t been any indication whatsoever that Reid’s contract has anything to do with speculation about his future. But it brings his contract into focus, as it runs through the 2025 season and is now very undervalued relative to his peers. Reid reportedly makes $12 million per season over the remainder of his deal, which lags significantly behind the reported $18 million and $16 million per season salaries of Payton and newly hired Los Angeles Chargers head coach Jim Harbaugh. At the very least, given what Reid has accomplished since signing his last extension, a salary bump is in order if he’s going to continue.

If that’s a carrot the Chiefs can leverage to keep Reid, it’s likely it would already be in the works. And given the statements this week from ownership about its desire to have Reid around for years to come, there’s little question the Chiefs will use whatever tools they can to make it happen. That might include some pleas from Mahomes, who spoke glowingly about the mind meld he has achieved with Reid’s offensive play-calling over his six years as a starter.

“Just being with coach Reid for so long now, I have a good feel for the game plan — a good feel for how he calls plays,” Mahomes said Thursday. “A lot of the times, he’ll call the play that I want him to call before I even get it in. Just having a good feel for what he’s thinking, I think that’s what great coaches and players connections kind of [do], is whenever you can kind of call the plays that you know the coach is going to call.

“The biggest thing for me, especially now, is when he calls a play, I know what he’s thinking and kind of who he thinks the ball is going to go to. It might be different than practice, it might be different than what we’ve worked on throughout the year, but based off the game, the defense that’s playing, and the play that he calls, I have a good understanding of what he’s thinking and who he thinks the ball is going to.”

That connection has been showcased during this playoff run, which could end up as the ultimate testament to how perfectly suited Reid is for Mahomes — especially with an offensive roster that is less experienced or explosive than past editions. Sunday will be the stage to make a statement about what a coach and quarterback continue to do together, if not a reflection point about how much more they can accomplish if Reid and Mahomes roll on together.