"Buy low, sell high."
It’s the most basic commandment in the world of business, and it’s just as applicable to player contracts in the world of sports.
So it’s amazing to see teams today in the modern era of number-crunching analysis continually overpaying athletes and saddling their franchises with fat, immovable cap-suckers.
Sure, no one can tell the future, but general managers have come a long way from the days of throwing money at players because they get that ol’ tingle in their toes, and you know that ol’ tingle means.
No, any goon who’s ever watched Moneyball with at least cursory attention knows that you pick up players with the best cost-to-benefit ratio.
But as long as franchises continue to take gambles and throw long term, big money contracts at athletes who can’t earn it, there will be financial pickles with no easy way out for either party.
And the following are some of the most immovable athletes out there right now.
Rumors of a trade involving Amar’e Stoudemire and Dwight Howard have cropped up in recent weeks, but it isn’t likely that the New York Knicks center will be heading anywhere fast.
Stoudemire still has a fat chunk of change left on his contract with the Knicks (four years and $83 million).
That amount of money, coupled with his multiple knee injuries makes him an expensive, high risk trade prospect for any team looking to pick up a big man.
Calling Mark Sanchez a leper might be a little bit harsh, but no one in professional football wants to touch this guy with ten foot pole and oven mitts on.
Sanchez’s offensive production is mired in mediocrity and turnovers—he has thrown 36 interceptions and fumbled the ball 15 times in his past two years with Jets.
Compare that to the 39 touchdowns he’s thrown in the same amount of time and you’ll see why the Jets would be best unloading him on someone else.
Only problem is they can’t.
Sanchez signed a five-year, $58.25 million dollar extension with the Jets before the beginning of the 2012 season and is guaranteed $8.25 million in 2013.
The Jets are looking to shop Sanchez now, and it's doubtable they'll find any suitors offering any value.
The Golden State Warriors signed a a six-year, $54 million contract extension with Latvian center Andris Biedrins in 2008.
And they’ve been kicking themselves ever since.
Biedrins has since been, what’s the term, a fiscal tragedy for the Golden State Warriors. After averaging a double-double in 2008, the $9 million-a-year center forgot how to shoot free throws and has slid entirely into the abyss.
The Warriors have allegedly been looking to dump Biedrins for several years, but will almost undoubtedly have to devour the full length and girth of this meaty contract until it ends in 2014.
There are nine years remaining on the ultra long 15-year, $67 million contract Rick DiPietro signed with New York Islanders in 2006.
And the 31-year-old goalie is sitting on the bench.
DiPietro has only started 48 games in the last four seasons due to injury, and the expensive and lengthy contract has landed the Islanders with $44 million in immoveable salary sitting on the sidelines.
It’s pretty damn hard to stand out as a batter on the same team as rookie sensation Mike Trout. And it’s not going to get any easier with arrival of Josh Hamilton.
Even so, veteran slugger Vernon Wells hasn’t performed anywhere near expectations.
The Angels traded Mike Napoli and Juan Rivera for the opportunity to pick up an $81 million tab on slugger Vernon Wells in 2011.
And in return Wells has rewarded the Angels with some truly regrettable production: hitting .224 with a .263 OBP over his two seasons with the team.
Now the Angels are left with a weighty albatross hanging around their neck and $42 million in guaranteed money to pay Wells over the next two years.
Rumors swirled about a trade between the Angels and the Philadelphia Phillies, but it’s looking like the Angels are stuck.
Between transfer fees, wages and contract money, Chelsea forked over £80 million for the young Liverpool striker in 2011 and have seen nearly diddly-squat in terms of return on investment since.
Fernando Torres has £35 million in guaranteed money and three years left on his contract with Chelsea, and with his mighty scoring struggles it’s hard to imagine any clubs of consequence offering anything close to a workable transaction with Chelsea for the floundering striker.
Banged up and underperforming has been the unfortunate report card for Arizona Cardinals quarterback Kevin Kolb over the past two seasons.
Arizona traded Dominque Rodgers-Cromartie and a second-round draft pick to the Philadelphia Eagles for Kolb in 2011, and have since paid the quarterback $20 million for 15 starts.
With a $2 million roster bonus and $9 million salary payout approaching, the Cardinals are looking to restructure Kolb’s deal and talk him into agreeing to be traded.
But Kolb has money on the table, leverage as the best passing option Arizona has right now and it’s almost certain that no one will be looking to offer Arizona much in return for him.
He’s making almost $3 million in 2013 with the Philadelphia 76ers, and he’s averaging two points and 12 minutes a game.
The 76ers don’t appear poised to foist Kwame Brown off on anyone, and it’s extremely unlikely that anyone will be kicking down the door to win the 2014 Kwame Brown Lottery after the end of this season.
Former Washington Capitals defenseman Dennis Wideman signed a five-year, $26.25 million deal with the Calgary Flames in 2012.
Wideman isn’t likely to be a bust for the Flames, but even if Calgary wanted to move Wideman in a few years to open up cap space it’s unlikely he’d accept.
The 29-year-old’s contract features a full no-movement clause, and it’s unlikely a team will offer a deal that’ll prompt him to waive it as he heads into the twilight of his hockey career.
If they could’ve done it they would’ve done it.
The Carolina Panthers have been on the brink of trading running back DeAngelo Williams for much of the 2012 season, but haven't pulled the trigger.
The Panther’s inability to trade Williams stemmed from his contract, which included $5.25 million in guaranteed money for the season, which would have to be paid if he left the team.
An overall drop-off in production. Performance-enhancing drug allegations. Monster contract demands.
No one in their right mind in the MLB would think of trading for and structuring a deal with the Yankees third baseman Alex Rodriguez.
And even the Yankees are now looking for a way to get out of paying the rest of the bill on their deal with the 37-year-old superstar.
The six-year, $100 million dollar contract the Buffalo Bills offered defensive end Mario Williams in 2012 set a new standard in pay for defensive players in the NFL.
It also set off a goodly number of skeptics of the deal, who questioned his ability to live up to the money after William’s rocky start to the 2012 season.
But whether or not you believe he’s earning his checks in Buffalo, it would appear that the Williams' contract has him locked in through the 2013 season with the Bills (to the tune of $40 million over the first two years), with an option to keep him around on a year-to-year basis for the remaining four years on his contract.
Put simply, Williams is going nowhere for now.
Real Madrid wanted badly to have Kaka on their club, and paid a record-breaking £68 million ($94 million) transfer fee for the Brazilian superstar in 2009.
Unfortunately, Real Madrid “never saw the real Kaka” according to Real manager Jose Mourinho, who believes Kaká has underperformed during his first three years with the club.
Real Madrid is looking to rid itself of their expensive midfielder and have engaged in talks with AC Milan, but negotiations between the two sides have broken down over the particulars (Madrid wants him permanently off their hands, while Milan will only take him on loan).
Plenty of clubs might want to bid for Kaka, but at this juncture no one seems to be able to make it happen. It’s worthy to note, however, that the Los Angeles Galaxy has expressed interest in making something happen.
Get comfy, Philly—Ryan Howard is here to stay, and he’s building a nest.
The Philadelphia Phillies re-signed first baseman Ryan Howard in grand fashion in 2010, offering the then-31-year-old slugger to a five year deal that would keep Howard on the roster until 2016.
Once a dominating power-bomb hitter, injuries have taken a toll on Howard since signing the deal and it’s probably safe to say that Ryan Howard’s best days are behind him.
It’s also highly likely that the Phillies will have a hell of a time trying to find a buyer for Howard at the ripe old age of 33.
After signing a monstrous deal with Russian soccer club Anzhi Makhachkala in 2011, African striker Samuel Eto’o is locked into the club at least until 2014.
Even if he wanted to move elsewhere, Eto’o would have trouble finding anyone willing to match his record-breaking £28.8 ($28 million) contract.
Also, Eto’o probably wants to stay put in Russia for now. That is, if his allegations that Cameroon’s soccer officials want to off him are true.
Chris Johnson is a great, sometimes amazing football player.
Only problem is, he’s being paid the money of a player who's always amazing.
After signing a six-year, $56 million contract extension with the Tennessee Titans in 2011, Johnson’s output has grown increasingly sporadic, causing some second-guessing in the front office in Nashville.
But with an alleged $30 million in guaranteed money in his contract, the Titans have rightfully decided to keep Johnson around for another year to see if he can catch fire again.
So in the meantime, he’s stuck with Titans and will have to either underperform his way into being released or bounce back strong enough to earn his massive contract.