25 Athletes Who Are Recipients of the Worst Contracts in Sports

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25 Worst Athlete Contracts in Sports

athlete contracts
Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Athletes make a ton of money. I mean more money than you or I will most likely ever see in a lifetime. These guys work hard to make millions and it's sometimes well-earned and sometimes athletes get big paydays and fail to prove they deserve the money. If you're not happy with your current job and the amount of money you make right now for working hard, this list probably will do nothing but make you angry.

Sure these guys get to play a game for a living and make millions upon millions of dollars, but they risk serious injury and they work hard every day to perfect their craft. It's almost unbelievable how talented these athletes are and some might not even seem human.

However, there are athletes in every sport that get paid a ton of money to perform well, but end up lacking in the production category and angering fans. Paying an athlete a huge contract is always a risk because most of the time the contract will be all they need and sometimes all the talks of how much money they are worth gets to their head and they end up underperforming and providing the title "bust".

If you are curious to see which athletes made a ton of money and probably didn't deserve it based on the way they have played -- or not played -- in a given period of time, this list will likely intrigue you.

Sometimes athletes just have down years and they will bounce right back the next season and prove they are worth the big bucks, but many times, these players never bounce back and it takes years for them to even make a slight comeback to relevancy.

Take a look at my list of the 25 worst athlete contracts in sports today and let me know who I've missed.

Connor Muldowney is a columnist for Follow him on Twitter @Connormuldowney, “Like” him on Facebook or add him to your network on Google. You can also reach him at

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25. Marcedes Lewis

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Although he is not guaranteed all the money he signed in his contract, Lewis was paid far too much just to have 1,099 yards and four touchdowns in the first three years.

Contract: five-year, $34 million

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24. Gerald Wallace

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Making about $10 million a year must be nice for a guy who averaged 7.7 points and 4.6 rebounds the year he signed. Oh, and he's off to a smoking-hot start to the 2013-14 season, averaging 5.4 points and 4.5 rebounds.

Contract: four-year, $40 million

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23. Santonio Holmes

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Two years removed from his best season in the NFL, the wide out signed a huge contract with the New York Jets and they are likely regretting that day. He has played in 25 games since inking the five-year deal in 2011, accounting for 1,240 yards and 10 touchdowns.

Contract: five-year, $45 million

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22. Jared Cook

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Jared Cook was paid handsomely heading into the 2013 season by the Rams and he was expected to be one of the best tight ends in the NFL. However, he has caught more than four passes just twice this season and has disappeared since week one, catching just one touchdown pass.

Contract: five-year, $35.1 million

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21. Eric Gordon

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Not sure what the Pelicans -- or Hornets -- were thinking when they inked Gordon to a huge contract just one year after he played only nine games. He played in just 42 games the year after signing the deal and it looks like he is having a very difficult time staying healthy.

Contract: four-year, $58.3 million

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20. Ryan Howard

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Howard signed a mammoth contract prior to the 2012 season. Since then? How about just 25 total homers, .219 and 2.66 averages, respectively, and just 151 total games. Not living up to the hype.

Contract: five-year, $125 million

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19. Jose Reyes

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Reyes was one of the best shortstops in the league before he signed a deal with the Marlins in 2012. Reyes played the whole season for the disappointing Marlins and was then traded to the Blue Jays for 2013 and disappointed heavily, playing in just 93 games for the equally-disappointing Jays.

Contract: six-year, $106 million

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18. Sam Bradford

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Bradford got a No. 1 overall-type contract in 2010 after being draft at the top overall spot by the St. Louis Rams and he has yet to live up to the hype. He has thrown over 3,000 yards just twice in his first four years and the fourth-year player went down with an injury in 2013, forcing him out of the final nine games on the year -- he's played just two full seasons as a pro.

Contract: six-year, $78 million

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17. Matt Kemp

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Matt Kemp was an career-MVP candidate up until 2012. What happened in 2012? Well, he signed a huge contract, of course. Since signing the deal, he has played in just 179 games and hit 29 homers and 102 RBI.

Contract: eight-year, $160 million

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16. Mike Wallace

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Wallace was a 1,000 yards per year type of guy until he was signed to a big contract by the Miami Dolphins. It looks like the receiver has struggled to get open and has openly showed frustration with the lack of catches and yards he has had this season -- maybe he just isn't making the most of his targets.

Contract: five-year, $60 million

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15. Michael Vick

Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

The Eagles hoped Vick would be the electrifying player he was with the Falcons before his dog-fighting scandal, but the quarterback is aging and oft-injured.

Contract: one-year, $7 million

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14. Mark Sanchez

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Sanchez might be considered the worst quarterback in the NFL as his quarterback rating is about as low as possible, but the Jets didn't think that was bad enough keep him away from the money.

Contract: five-year, $58.25 million

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13. Alfonso Soriano

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Soriano looks like the kind of guy who could be a valuable veteran presence on a contending team. Well, he's a solid presence, but he's also extremely overpaid. However, he hasn't hit over .270 since 2008 and he is getting up there in age to the point where his average is diminishing at an extremely expedient rate.

Contract: eight-year, $136 million

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12. Prince Fielder

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Fielder inked a big deal with the Detroit Tigers in hopes he would bring a title to the Motor City, but two of his worst home run output seasons and a mediocre 2013 season have led people to question the amount of money Detroit paid him. How about no RBI in the 2013 postseason. Not clutch.

Contract: nine-year, $214 million

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11. Chris Bosh

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Bosh was expected to be a monster in the middle for the Miami Heat, but disappearing in the playoffs and playing soft in the middle with no more than 8.3 rebounds per game since joining the Heat is not worth the money for a top center.

Contract: six-year, $109.8 million

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10. Andrew Bynum

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Bynum might be considered the biggest disappointment in the NBA in recent memory. People were saying how he was better than Dwight Howard and then injuries bit the big man. The Cavs hoped they would get more than 60 games out of him this year, but he has played just one full season in his career.

Contract: two-year, $24.8 million

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9. Albert Pujols

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Pujols still may be considered one of the best hitters of our time, but since signing with the Los Angeles Angels, he has hit no higher than .285 and has had career-lows in homers and RBI while struggling to stay healthy in 2013 -- playing just 99 games.

Contract: 10-year, $250 million

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8. Barry Zito

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Zito's contract might be considered the worst in history. He was a former Cy Young winner and considered the best pitcher in the league at one point. However, since signing the deal with the San Francisco Giants in 2007, he never recorded an ERA under four and had just one winning record in seven years.

Contract: seven-year, $126 million

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7. Joe Flacco

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Flacco has never thrown for over 4,000 yards or over 25 touchdowns in a season, yet he's getting paid like an NFL MVP. Maybe it has something to do with a Super Bowl win, but he's not looking great since signing the big deal.

Contract: six-year, $120.6 million

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6. Joe Johnson

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Joe Johnson is a solid scorer, but the fact he is making more than anyone on the Brooklyn Nets for averaging just under 13 points and 2.8 rebounds to start the 2013 season is a crying shame.

Contract: six-year, $123.6 million

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5. Amar'e Stoudemire

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Stoudemire was once one of the best power forwards in the NBA, but he hasn't been playing like it since joining the New York Knicks. He played out the first couple years of his contract to his potential and injuries have plagued him since 2011-12 as he's played just 76 games in the two years before the 2013-14 season. His 2013-14 season has gotten off slowly as well, averaging just 10 minutes per game in six games with 3.2 points per contest.

Contract: five-year, $99.7 million

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4. Josh Hamilton

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Hamilton has hit more than 32 home runs just once in his career and over .300 just twice. Somehow, that was enough for the Angels to offer him a huge contract.

Contract: five-year, $125 million

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3. Tim Lincecum

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Once nicknamed "The Freak", Lincecum was the best pitcher in baseball at one point. His slender figure and hard-throwing arm were a mystery, but now players are starting to solve that mystery as he hasn't been the same for two years. He has had a 5.18 and 4.37 ERA in the past two seasons, respectively, and that has somehow earned him a huge extension.

Contract: two-year, $40.5 million

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2. Gilbert Arenas

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Arenas might have the worst contract in history, but the guy before him is a bit more deserving. I'm going to go out on a limb and say it's the worst contract in NBA history -- by a wide margin. He is set to make $22 million this season even though he is no longer in the NBA and struggled mightily in his final three years in the league.

Contract: six-year, $111 million

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1. Alex Rodriguez

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Rodriguez signed the biggest contract in sports history in 2008 and he's looking like an extremely smart man. He is currently under suspicion of performance enhancing drug use and could be facing a huge suspension. Since signing the huge contract in 2008, his numbers have gone down in nearly every major category.

Contract: 10-year, $275 million