By Michael Terrill @MichaelTerrill on July 3, 2014
Athletes and money go hand-in-hand. It’s basically why they play the game. Sure, there’s some love involved, but for the most part, it all comes down to making money and taking care of their family. There’s nothing better than an athlete getting a big payday that is well deserved. On the contrary, there’s nothing worse than athletes who make more money than they are worth.
Prince Fielder signed a 10-year, $214 million contract with the Detroit Tigers two years ago. Since then, his numbers have dropped drastically, he’s been traded, and forced to undergo season-ending neck surgery. To say the least, Fielder is making far more money that he should be right now.
Earlier this year, Jay Cutler inked a seven-year, $126.7 million deal to stay with the Chicago Bears. The issue with the amount of money he’s getting paid is that he hasn’t really done anything to deserve it. Sure, he puts up decent numbers and he took the Bears to the NFC Championship game a few years back. However, other than that, his performance doesn’t exactly demand over $100 million.
I play this game with my friends all of the time. If you had to guess, how many home runs and RBI does Joe Mauer average per season? Most people will say 25-30 home runs and over 100 RBI. The reality is Mauer doesn’t come close to these numbers, with the exception of his performance the season prior to signing an eight-year, $184 million contract. Needless to say, Mauer got paid more money than he’s worth.
Alfonso Soriano is a tricky case because he actually puts up solid power numbers every season. Unfortunately, his batting average is consistently poor. Not to mention, the overall view on him is that he never lived up to his eight-year, /6 million contract that he signed with the Chicago Cubs.
Before anyone loses their mind, hear me out. Derrick Rose is a tremendous basketball player. I’m not disputing that. The issue I have is that the man has played in just 49 games over the past two seasons. In that same span, he has made well over $50 million in salary and endorsements. If he’s unable to suit up for the sport he’s getting paid to play, then that means he’s making more money than he’s worth.
Joe Johnson signed a six-year, 9 million contract with the Atlanta Hawks in 2010. Johnson, who now plays for the Brooklyn Nets, has never lived up to that contract. Sure, he’s a productive basketball player. However, he has never averaged more than 19 points per game since signing the deal. On top of that, he has never won anything significant. That kind of money should buy a top-tier scorer or a championship, which he’s done neither.
To say Johan Santana never lived up to his six-year, /7.5 million deal would be an understatement. I’m not saying he didn’t put up good numbers because the reality is that he did. With that being said, the New York Mets expected him to be an ace that could bring them glory. Unfortunately, that never happened.
I never understood the fascination with Blake Griffin. Yes, he has become a legitimate threat around the basket, but that didn’t really happen until just this past season. In my opinion, someone who gets paid $17 million in one season and millions of dollars more in endorsements needs to be a game changer. Griffin has yet to raise his game to that level.
Golfer Rory McIlroy signed a whopping $250 million contract with Nike to basically be the next Tiger Woods. The only difference is he isn’t the next Tiger Woods. Sure, he’s won two majors, which is outstanding. He also had a year to remember in 2012 when he won pretty much every award available, including the PGA Tour money leader. But overall, he hasn’t lived up to the hype or the money.
Amar’e Stoudemire signed a $100 million contract with the New York Knicks with nearly all of it guaranteed. It looked to be a sweet deal at the time for both parties, but unfortunately, only Stoudemire came out ahead. The big man’s numbers have steadily declined each season to the point where he averaged a dismal 11.9 points per game in 2013-14.
Matt Ryan signed a five-year, $103.75 million deal last summer. What did the Atlanta Falcons get in return? A quarterback who threw a career-high 17 interceptions and a team that mustered just four wins. It’s still early in his contract, but “Matty Ice” is so overrated it isn’t even funny.
Carlos Boozer’s contract is so bad that the Bulls have decided to either amnesty or trade him this summer. His numbers have taken a serious dive, and he never lived up to what Chicago expected from him during his tenure with the team. Let’s just say that $15.3 million for 13.7 points per game just isn’t going to cut it.
Matthew Stafford is another NFL quarterback who got a quality contract extension last summer. Like Ryan, Stafford hasn’t accomplished enough to warrant the $100-plus million he has made in his career. Sure, he puts up decent numbers, and he led the Detroit Lions to the playoffs for the first time in forever. With that being said, massive contract extensions should be reserve for QBs who win championships.
At the end of 2010, Carl Crawford signed a seven-year, $142-million contract with the Boston Red Sox. In the three and a half years since, he has hit a total of 24 home runs and he has been traded. On top of that, he’s never batted higher than .283 nor has he hit more than 56 RBI in a season. Crawford has made a lot of money in his career, but needless to say, he doesn’t exactly deserve it.
Barry Zito never came close to living up to the seven-year, $126 million contract that he signed with the San Francisco Giants. Sure, he was a part of two World Series teams. However, with the exception of his 2012’s postseason performance, Zito failed miserably on the mound. The best season over his seven years with the team was a 10-13 record, 4.03 ERA and 154 strikeouts.
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