The 25 Worst Current Contracts in Sports

Nick DimengoFeatured ColumnistFebruary 18, 2013

The 25 Worst Current Contracts in Sports

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    In case you missed it—and we doubt that you did—the Mariners inked their ace pitcher Felix Hernandez to an insane seven-year, $175 million deal.

    Like most long-term contracts though, there's always risk involved.

    Injuries.

    Declining performance.

    Age.

    Which are just some of the factors in these, the 25 worst current contracts in sports.

    Wonder if these teams want a mulligan?

25. Albert Pujos: 10-Years, $254 Million

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    We absolutely hate the Pujols deal.

    It's not that he underperformed in 2012—that's expected when you switch leagues, even for a hitter as talented as Big Al—it's that the damn thing stretches past his 40th birthday, guaranteeing the first baseman more than $59 million dollars long after he gets over the hill.

24. Matt Flynn, Three-Years, $19.5 Million ($10 Million Guaranteed)

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    We can't fault the Seahawks for tossing Flynn big money last offseason. They needed a QB, and Flynn was presumably talked about as the best one available.

    However, now that Russell Wilson has proven to be "the guy" after nearly leading the Hawks to the NFC title game, Flynn becomes more than expendable.

    We just can't imagine a team paying a guy that type of money to hold a clipboard.

23. Jayson Werth, Seven-Years, $126 Million

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    When Werth signed his record deal with the Nats during the 2010 offseason—the 14th largest in MLB history—he was hardly considered to be a top-of-the-line player.

    But Washington thought his experience playing for the championship-caliber teams in Philadelphia would be crucial for their organization to turn the corner and into a contender.

    Essentially, the team outbid themselves for experience rather than production.

    As for the return on their investment, Werth's smashed 25 homers, driven in 89 runs and has batted .266.

    Not quite worth nearly $18 million a year.

22. Paul Martin, Five-Years, $25 Million

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    A tab of $5 million a year is probably a decent bargain for a franchise to pay these days, but for the Penguins handing that type of money out to an inconsistent defenseman.

    More than the money though, it's Martin's no-trade clause that earns him on this list, meaning he's nearly impossible to move without the Pens eating the bulk of his deal.

21. Fernando Torres, Five-Years, $55.8 Million

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    The criticism aimed towards the Chelsea and Spanish national team striker have been harsh over the past several seasons, but it's well warranted.

    On top of him earning more than $11 million a year, the transfer fee to bring "El Nino" from Liverpool (where he was an absolute star) to Chelsea was $80 million dollars, and for their fees, Torres has produced just 14 goals in 72 appearances.

20. Tyrus Thomas, Five-Years, $40 Million

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    We're not quite sure what the Bobcats were thinking when they handed the former No. 4 overall pick this much money a couple years ago?

    He clearly has some game, but he's already been in the league a shocking seven seasons, so at some point that whole "potential" talk becomes stale.

19. Kaka, Six-Years, $70.12 Million

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    Poor Kaka.

    When the Brazilian midfielder originally signed his deal with Madrid in 2009, he was still looked at as one of the more productive players in the world.

    Since then, he's battled injuries and lack of fitness, making him extremely overpriced considering his age (30) and lack of form.

18. Ilya Bryzgalov, Nine-Years, $51 Million

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    Bryzgalov is a solid goaltender, but it's the fact that the Flyers had even better options when he was a free agent than just signing the former Coyotes pipe-defender—namely Tim Thomas and Jonathan Quick.

    For being locked into playing the flaky Russian, Philly probably regrets the move to sign him to such a long deal.

17. Tyson Jackson, Five-Years, $56.2 Million

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    Coming out of LSU in 2009, Jackson was considered to be a top-notch prospect.

    So when the Chiefs drafted him No. 3 overall, few thought it was a reach.

    But since he's landed in Kansas City, the defensive end has struggled mightily, recording only five sacks in the four years of his career, often being replaced on third-downs and four-wide sets and more importantly, is due to make $14.7 million this upcoming season—assuming he's not cut before then.

16. Mike Komisarek, Five-Years, $22.5 Million

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    Komisarek agreed to this deal in the summer of 2009, and since then, he's given the Leafs just 19 total points.

    $4.5 million per year may be a modest salary, but after paying the defenseman nearly $14 million of the contract thus far, that's nearly $750,000 per point!

15. Vernon Wells, 7-Years, $126 Million

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    Wells is a guy that most fans really want to pull for, but it's tough when the dude's making $21 million a season—or more than $110,000 per game!

    He's become completely useless on an Angels team that now calls current A.L. Rookie of the Year Mike Trout its center fielder these days.

    Since being traded to the Angels before the 2011 season, Wells has averaged 13 dingers with 47 RBI. 

14. Carlos Boozer, Five-Years, $82 Million

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    Boozer is not too far off his impressive career stats this year, but the problem is, even tough he's having a bounce back season, he's still not even close to worth the $16 million that he's collecting from the Bulls.

    What's worse is that Chicago really wants to unload him, but few teams in their right mind would take on the rest of his salary, which is $47.1 million over the next three seasons.

13. Chris Johnson, Four-Years, $53.5 Million ($30 Million Guaranteed)

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    After Johnson's remarkable 2,000-yard performance in 2009, CJ held all the chips to negotiate a fat extension with the Titans over the next couple years, demanding he be paid as a top-3 running back.

    Though Johnson's surpassed the 1,000-yard mark in each season since the deal, he hasn't recorded more than six TD's over the same span, and is barely a top-three running back in his own division—just under Adrian Foster and Maurice Jones-Drew—let alone in the entire league.

12. Ryan Howard, Five-Years, $125 Million

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    When Howard signed his mega-deal back in 2010, he was still knocking the cover off the ball and was widely-looked at as potentially the next David Ortiz.

    Since then though, he tore his Achilles and has spent more time trying to heal nagging injuries and battle inconsistency over the past several seasons.

11. Matt Cassel, Six-Years, $62.7 Million ($28 Million Guaranteed)

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    No player should be booed when they're lying on the dirt with an injury as Cassel did this past season, but the moaning from the fans in K.C. are a clear sign of what the city thinks of their QB.

    Cassel had a breakout season for the Pats in '08 when he filled in for the then-injured Tom Brady, and rode that success to big-time money.

    Unfortunately, he lost his starting gig last year, only proving he's not worth the more than $16 million left on his deal.

10. Samuel Eto'o, Three-Years, $87 Million

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    First off, going from esteemed club team Inter Milan to Russian team Anzhi Makhachkala as Eto'o's first mistake.

    But more than leaving the Italian club, it's that the Cameroonian striker is the highest paid player in the world.

    Yes, more than Cristiano Ronaldo.

    More than Lionel Messi.

    More than Robin Van Persie.

    To us, that's just insane, but at least he's been somewhat productive since joining his new squad in 2011, netting 20 goals in 39 appearances.

9. Carl Crawford, Seven-Years, $142 Million

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    As part of the spending spree that the Red Sox had during the 2011 offseason, Crawford went from small-market Tampa Bay, to major pressure in Beantown.

    For whatever reason—injuries, inconsistency, or just a bad fit—he never found his feet in Fenway, and was shipped off to the Dodgers as part of the super trade that landed the Red Sox cast-offs.

    The image of him missing that fly ball to cost the Red Sox, a playoff berth in 2011, just about sums up his entire career in Boston.

8. Joe Johnson, Six-Years, $119 Million

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    The summer of 2010 was one of the biggest in NBA history, with guys like LeBron, D-Wade and Chris Bosh coming into free agency, and teams looking to pounce on their services.

    Along with what became the "Big Three," Johnson was a highly sought-after commodity himself.

    But when the Hawks guaranteed him nearly $20 million a year, it was a bit absurd considering most don't view him as a franchise-type player that will carry a team on his back—though the Nets seemed to think so when they traded for him last offseason.

7. Mark Sanchez, Five-Years, $58.25 Million ($20 Million Guaranteed)

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    After leading the J-E-T-S to back-to-back AFC title games, the front office rewarded their young signal-caller with a big contract for his efforts—which they openly regret.

    There's just one problem—Sanchez has actually regressed as a passer in the first two years of the deal, and it's clear that those two playoff teams were lead by the defense, not on the right arm of their QB.

6. Michael Vick, Six-Years, $100 Million ($40 Million Guaranteed)

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    It's a quarterback-driven league, and the Eagles were just trying to live in it.

    After Vick stole away the full-time starting gig from Kevin Kolb in 2011, Philly handed the exciting southpaw a mega-deal, thinking he returned to the form he displayed as the No. 1 pick in Atlanta.

    But then Vick forgot how to hold onto the football or protect himself, making the team regret the decision to give him his second $100-million-plus NFL contract.

5. Amare Stoudemire, Five-Years, $100 Million

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    Thanks to his cranky knees, there was always criticism as to why the Knicks would give Amare such a huge deal. To be fair, in his first year, Stoudemire emerged as an MVP candidate, showing flashes of what he was in Phoenix.

    Then that whole Carmelo to New York thing happened—along with more unfortunate injuries—and Amare finds himself as nothing more than just a very overpaid sixth man, and just a shadow of the former All-Star we all think of him as.

4. Rick DiPietro, 15-Years, $67.5 Million

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    DiPietro's deal isn't on this list because he's insanely overpaid like some of the other athletes who find themselves among the worst contracts in sports—he's earning a reasonable $4.5 million per season.

    No, he's on here because of the insane length of his deal, capping out at a whopping 15-years for the Islanders goaltender.

    Giving a guy anything over five years is considered a stretch, so multiplying that by three is just ridiculous.

3. John Lackey, Five-Years, $82.5 Million

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    If you're looking for value, you can ignore the contract that former Sox GM Theo Epstein threw at Lackey back in '09, because it's one of the worst contracts we've ever seen.

    When a guy earns more than $15-million per year—yet didn't even throw an inning in the Majors in 2012—and is hoped upon to earn the No. 5 spot in the rotation, it's pretty ugly.

2. Gilbert Arenas, Six-Years, $111 Million

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    At one time, Arenas was one of the most dangerous scorers in basketball, finishing in the top-10 in scoring during three-straight years.

    Then that whole gun thing happened.

    His knees went out on him.

    And he couldn't get a job in the Association so he's currently lacing them up in China.

    No wonder the Wizards are still paying for paying "Agent Zero."

1. Alex Rodriguez, 10-Years, $275 Million

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    While A-Rod certainly deserved the largest contract in sports when he signed the record-breaking 10-year deal with the Rangers in '00—he was the best player in the game—the extension given to him by the Yanks in 2007 was just ridiculous.

    Not only did it up his annual pay from $25 million to over $27 million, but the contract doesn't end until he's 42 years old.

    As we've seen in the past couple years, he's at best an above average third baseman, who'd probably command more than half of what he's earning now if he was on the open market.