The 20 Worst Contracts In Sports History
It pays to be a professional athlete. Literally. Each year it seems like new records for athlete contracts are set, and expectations for the upcoming season are raised.
However, as we’ve seen in the past, ridiculous contracts can sometimes lead to epic fails on the playing field or hardwood.
Whether due to injury, laziness or even legal problems off the field…a number of issues can turn a big time deal sour!
Today, we’re going to break down for you — what we feel to be — The 20 Worst Contracts In Sports History !
Duncan Steel | Elite.
20. Danny Tartabull
Year: 1992 Contract: $27 million/Five years Team: New York Yankees It's safe to say the highlights of Danny Tartabull's time in New York were those two cameo appearances he made on "Seinfeld."
19. Wade Redden
Year: 2008 Contract: $39 million/Six years Team: New York Rangers Wade Redden's numbers were already declining when he entered free agency... so WTF were the Rangers thinking?! As expected, Redden's numbers continued to drop and his time on the bench increased. Now the Rangers owe him millions through 2014.
18. John Koncak
Year: 1989 Contract: $13 million/ Six years Team: Atlanta Hawks Jon Koncak spent 9 years in the league as a bench warmer...but his unheard of $13 million six-year contract at the time earned him more than Magic Johnson, Michael Jordan and Larry Bird!
17. A.J. Burnett
Year: 2008 Contract: $82.5 million/ Five years Team: New York Yankees Who would have thought A.J. Burnett would be such a bum?! Instead of killing it on the mound for the Yankees, the pitcher became known for punching doors and having his pitches knocked out of the park.
16. Denilson de Oliveira Araujo
Year: 1998 Contract: 21.5 million Team: Real Betis Real betis made Denilson de Oliveira Araujo the highest paid soccer player in the world. The result? Their squad went from the highest level of competition down to the Second Division. Denilson was eventually sold, and will forever be considered one of the biggest busts in soccer.
15. Michael Vick
Year: 2004 Contract: $137 million/ Ten years Team: Atlanta Falcons This seemed like a perfectly reasonable contract at the time, but when it was infamously revealed that Mike Vick was running a dog fighting group in his hometown of Newport News, Virginia and would be facing jail time, it proved otherwise. Vick was only forced to pay $3.5 million of the $35 million he received, but the Falcons eventually recovered and Vick landed another big contract with Philly, so all is well.
14. Ben Wallace
Year: 2006 Contract: $60 million/Four years Team: Chicago Bulls Ben Wallace cemented a legacy as a defensive inside presence while in Detroit, as he became a four-time Defensive Player of the Year, and led the Pistons to an NBA championship in 2004. This led to Wallace earning a huge contract with the Chicago Bulls, but he only averaged 5 points and 9.7 rebounds before getting traded to the Cavs in 2008.
13. Stephon Marbury
Year: 2003 Contract: $76 million/ Four years Team: Phoenix Suns/New York Knicks Starbury put up huge numbers early on in his career, being the only person other than the Big O to average 20 points and 9 assists over his career. This earned him a major deal in Phoenix, which became New York's burden when the Suns traded him. We don't need to remind you how much of a nightmare his situation in New York was, but we may need to remind you that he made over $21 million per annum while there.
12. Luis Castillo
Year: 2007 Contract: $25 million/ Four years Team: New York Mets The Mets were high off of the Madoff money, and they signed an injury-prone 32-year-old to a long-term contract at second base. While Luis Castillo played well on the field, he had trouble lacing up his cleats due to injuries. A typical move of the mid-2000s Mets.
11. Jim McIlvaine
Year: 1996 Contract: $33.6 million/ Seven years Team: Seattle SuperSonics Jim McIlvaine had a huge impact on the SuperSonics franchise...just not the one they were hoping for. McIlvaine averaged 3.8 points and four rebounds per game in his first season, proving he was truly not worth the mula. Shawn Kemp, who had been seeking a new contract from Seattle, became very upset with the team's management and demanded a trade in the '97 off-season.
10. Bobby Bonilla
Year: 1992 Contract: $29 million/ Five years Team: New York Mets If Bonilla was a baby mamma of the Mets, his contract was the illegitimate baby that requires child support payments. "The Mets agreed to pay out the remainder of Bonilla's contract by deferring the $5.9 million that he was due. The Mets will pay him 25 equal payments of $1,193,248.20 every July 1 from 2011 until 2035, assuming an annual interest rate of 8% during the period 2011-2035." Years later, and the Mets are still feeling this one!
9. Albert Haynesworth
Year: 2009 Contract: $100 million/ Seven years Team: Washington Redskins Nine-figure contracts for defensive linemen are unheard of. Albert Haynesworth became the highest-paid defensive player in NFL history when he inked his deal with the Redskins after back-to-back Pro Bowl seasons in Tennessee. Did he live up to the hype? Of course not. Haynesworth was a terrible teammate and one of the least coachable players the league has seen.
8. Vin Baker
Year: 1998 Contract: $87 million/Seven years Team: Seattle SuperSonics After a highly productive (19 ppg & 8 rpg), The Sonics rewarded Vin Baker with one of the biggest contracts in the league at the time. However, Baker wasn't very successful his first season, and the remaining years would be plagued by his battles with the bulge and the bottle!
7. Alexei Yashin
Year: 2001 Contract: $87.5 million/Ten years Team: New York Islanders A ten year contract seems a bit absurd, no? Yashin's production faltered in his years with the Islanders and he recorded a career-low in 2003-04 only scoring 15 goals that season. New York bought him out of his contract in 2007 for $17.63 million. Yashin's annual $3.2 million hit on the team's salary cap and will be felt through 2015. Ouch.
6. Mike Hampton
Year: 2001 Contract: $121 million/Eight years Team: Colorado Rockies When the Rockies gave Mike Hampton a loaded 8-year contract, they expected the same dominant pitcher who had gone 22-4 with a 2.90 ERA in 1999. However, once Hampton got to Colorado he went 21-28 with a 5.75 ERA over two seasons before getting shipped off to Atlanta.
5. Barry Zito
Year: 2006 Contract: $126 million/ Seven years Team: San Francisco Giants Was Barry Zito really deserving of the biggest pitching contract in MLB history at the time? *Rhetorical Question* The San Francisco Giants clearly thought so and agreed to pay the pitcher $18 million per year. Since then, Zito has put up a record of 43-61 with an ERA of 4.52. Sheesh!
4. Jerome James
Year: 2005 Contract: $30 million/ Five years Team: New York Knicks Jerome James is #winning! After putting up 12.5 ppg during the playoffs with the Sonics, James received a huge 5 year contract with the Knicks... Besides warming the bench and dancing on the sideline...James made very few contributions to the team during his time with the Knicks.
3. Oliver Perez
Year: 2009 Contract: $36 million/Three years Team: New York Mets Two biggest fears of GMs after giving out big contracts? Injuries and laziness. After signing Oliver Perez, the Mets got a big dose of both. Only three months after signing his $36 million contract, Perez went on the DL with patellar tendinitis. Perez made many trips back to the DL, and was eventually waived.
2. Darren Dreifort
Year: 2001 Contract: $55 million/ Five years Team: Los Angeles Dodgers Rule #1: never give a pitcher with a losing record and a well-known history of arm injuries a mega deal. Dreifort was plagued by arm and shoulder injuries almost immediately after signing his big contract and ended up only pitching in three of the five seasons.
1. Eddy Curry
Year: 2005 Contract: $60 million/ Six years Team: New York Knicks If there's one thing the Knicks like to do...it's throw money away! During his time with the Knicks, Eddy Curry routinely showed up to camp out of shape and showed a lack of effort. One of his lowest points came in the 2008-09 season when he only played in three games and scored five points total for the season. Good one Isaiah!