Being a pro athlete sure has its perks. The money, the glitz and the glamour(by glamour, we mean an endless supply of gorgeous women)only pales in comparison to the work and preparation that these guys put in to be at the level that they are. General managers see this work and preparation and put their seal of approval into the form of a lucrative contract. Sometimes these contracts go really well and they can enjoy maximum production from their star for years to come. Other times though, it can turn out to be a huge dead weight that can smother a team for years if they are not able to overcome it. In this article, we will go over the best and the worst contracts in the four major sports leagues. This will be determined by production (or lack thereof) based on the current year in the case of the NBA and NHL and last year in the case of the NFL and MLB.
(All contract info and stats are courtesy of Spotrac, Pro Football, Hockey, Basketball and Baseball Reference)
Best: Patrick Mahomes (Quarterback-Kansas City Chiefs)
2018 Stats: 50 Passing TDs, 12 INTs, 5,097 Passing Yards, 2018 NFL MVP, All-Pro, Pro Bowler
2018 Total Salary: $1,211,635
One of if not the biggest rising star in the NFL, the Kansas City Chiefs are sitting on a lengthy gold mine with Patrick Mahomes. A man that can pass like NBA point guard Jason Williams in football form(including the no-look, behind the back passes), The Mahomes Era has truly taken over the NFL and that could transform into quite possibly the richest contract in NFL history. He started all 16 games and produced 50 TDs and 12 wins in his first full year as a starter all en route to being NFL MVP, all of this with the criminally low salary of just $1.2 million a year. Don’t feel too bad, here at The Dollars and Sense Sports Blog we project Mahomes to be great for years to come and that number is going to rise significantly soon.
Worst: Ryan Tannehill(Quarterback-Miami Dolphins)
2018 Stats: 17 Passing TDs, 9 INTs, 1,979 Passing Yards
2018 Total Salary: $17,500,000
Such is the luck of the Dolphins. The Miami Dolphins haven’t had a stable franchise quarterback since the days of Dan Marino, and while they have still had a decent amount of success, most of it has been mired in journeyman quarterbacks and mediocrity. To attempt to solve their QB problem, the Dolphins drafted Ryan Tannehill with the 8th overall pick from Texas A&M. While he has shown some promise(12,166 passing yards, 75 TDs from 2013-2015)his numbers have not translated into wins(22-26 QB record from 2013-2015). On top of this, Ryan Tannehill has missed 24 games over three years, including the entire 2017 season due to a torn ACL. Last year’s salary was around $17 million for a player that has seen his numbers decline AND has not been healthy. Time can only tell how the Dolphins plan to address his financial situation.
Best: DeMarcus Cousins(Center-Golden State Warriors)
2018-2019 Stats: 15.2 PPG, 8.1 RPG
2018-2019 Total Salary: $5,337,000
Have you ever heard the term “the richer get richer”? Well this is the sports embodiment of that quote as the Golden State Warriors(who are already the NBA’s resident juggernaut)gain an absolute present with the signing of former All-Star and All NBA talent in DeMarcus Cousins with an insanely low salary of around $5 million, The signing does incur some risk being that Cousins is coming of a tough Achilles injury he suffered last year. Big men and lower body injuries do not mix at all and it usually spells doom to their careers. However, the reward factor of the signing has huge upside as it looks like he is starting to regain his All-Star form in a position where the Warriors needed some added depth to the big man spot. That will only benefit them in another tough playoff run ahead where having an All-NBA center coming off the bench can’t hurt at all.
Worst: Paul Millsap(Power Forward-Denver Nuggets)
2018-2019 Stats: 12.5 PPG, 7.5 RPG, 35% 3-Point Percentage
2018-2019 Total Salary: $29,230,679
Speaking of players with an unfortunate injury history. Paul Millsap finds his way on this list through no fault of his own. The good news is that Paul Millsap is an 4-time All-Star with the Atlanta Hawks, so he is used to attaining a level of success. The bad news is that they will be paying almost $30 million dollars(his contract is the 12th-highest salary in the league) to a player that has played a total of 157 out of 242 games due to various injuries and just turned 34 years old. The Nuggets have started to develop into a great organization due to smart drafting, so Millsap has a lot of time to recover and gain his All-Star form. However, with the clock ticking on his career, that seems highly unlikely and the Nuggets will have to deal with huge financial ramifications of this deal unless they are able to secure a trade partner.
Best: Rhys Hoskins(Outfielder-Philadelphia Phillies)
2018 Stats: 34 HRs, 96 RBIs, .246 AVG, .496 SLG%
2018 Total Salary: $552,500
A participant in the 2018 Home Run Derby, the 25-year old outfielder enjoyed a great deal of success last season with the Philadelphia Phillies. 34 home runs and an almost playoff berth Hoskins almost doubled his home run output from a year before. His defense is still a little shaky (6 errors at left field) but he also possess a cannon of an arm when making plays(3rd in putouts). The Phillies have a nice assortment of young talent, and Hoskins is a great indicator of that talent if he is able to duplicate that same success in 2019.
Worst: Yoenis Cespedes(Outfielder-New York Mets)
2018 Stats: 9 HR, 29 RBIs, .262 AVG
2018 Total Salary: $29,000,000
As the trend continues, most of these bad contracts usually come from a player who looked promising but was cut down by injuries. This is the case of Yoenis Cespedes. A highly promising player who was signed by the Oakland A’s in 2012, Cespedes is a 2-time All-Star who once hit 42 home runs in a single season 2013 and 2014 back-to-back HR Derby Champion, 2016 NL Silver Slugger and 2015 AL Gold Glove. That production earned him a 4-year $110 million dollar deal from New York Mets. This is when things took a sharp turn as he would go on to miss 238 games including injury-shortened seasons in years 2017-2018 where he would only play 118 games out of 324. Cespedes will be due $58,500,000 dollars over the next two years, but only time will tell if he will ever be able to shake off the injuries and play at his All-Star level again.
Best: Elias Petterson(Center-Vancouver Canucks)
2018-2019 Stats: 26 Goals, 30 Assists
2018-2019 Total Salary: $925,000
Nothing feels better than having a star rookie leading your team because you get to maximize production and salary at the same time. Petterson has been doing just that as he is the team leader in goals, assists and plus-minus. The team has not been able to rally around Petterson and win but it is through no fault of his own. A recent 10-game injury stretch kept him out but he has picked up where he left off. Unfortunately, it may be too little, too late for the Canucks but at least they have a building in Petterson to lean on, at an incredibly inexpensive price.
Worst: Jamie Benn(Left Wing-Dallas Stars)
2018-2019 Stats: 21 Goals, 20 Assists
2018-2019 Total Salary: $13,000,000
Dallas…you never fail to disappoint sometimes, well except the people who had extremely high expectations of Tyler Seguin, Alexander Radulov and our entry on this list in Jamie Benn. Benn has been an incredible goal scorer in his career with 275 goals scored. However his biggest flaw is that he is an inconsistent goal scorer. This year has shown that as he is far from his 2015-2016 form (41 goals)as he sits at only 21 goals and has the 4th-highest yearly cash salary in the league. The Dallas Stars have more than $23 million dollars invested in their aforementioned stars so anyone of those players could have been eligible for this entry. However neither has had the goal-scoring success that Jamie Benn has had(Tyler Seguin isn’t too far away at 256 goals) or getting paid the way he is.
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