Ilya Kovalchuk and the Craziest Contracts in Sports History
The New Jersey Devils attempted to slip one by the goalie with their reported 17-year, $102 million contract to retain star player Ilya Kovalchuk.The National Hockey League got wind of the Devils ulterior motives when it comes to the contract and how it affects the team's hit against the salary cap. The contract was eventually nixed by the NHL and now the Devils will be forced to re-negotiate with Kovalchuk.
However, the lunacy of a 17-year contract got us thinking about what other crazy contracts have been dealt out in the history of sports. This list isn't just about a crazy amount of years or dollars, though that is the motivation for some, but also some of the wild quirks that elevated these pricey contracts into the strata of crazy.
Ilya Kovalchuk: 17 Years, $102 Million
Rick DiPietro: 15 Years, $67.5 Million
Alex Rodriguez: 10 Years, ~$300 Million
The Seattle Mariners originally signed A-Rod to a 10-year, $252 million contract in 2001.The Yankees threatened there would be no discussion of a new deal if he opted out of the contract in 2007. Well, A-Rod called the Yankees' bluff and the Yankees instead re-signed A-Rod, then 32, to another 10-year contract that is a base salary of $275 million with clauses that could push it to $300 million based on his home run pursuits.
Signing a 32-year-old player to a 10-year contract and giving him $25 million in clauses that now look meaningless given A-Rod's steroid admission was a very bold move. The latter stipulation has certainly put egg on the face of the Yankees who vigorously marketed the home run clauses.
Bobby Bonilla: 5 Years, $29.5 Million
David Beckham: 5 Years, $250 Million
The then 32-year-old Beckham wanted to come to America and transform American opinions about soccer and the Galaxy were waiting with a quarter billion dollars in cash (including endorsements) to make that happen.
Instead, the Galaxy have received seven goals in 41 injury-plagued games from the former superstar while forking over a king's ransom.The contract was a very bold move (to put it kindly) from Major League Soccer.
Daunte Culpepper: 10 Years, $102 Million
Mike Hampton: 8 Years, $121 Million
Mike Hampton had a couple of very good seasons with the Astros and Mets before hitting the free agent market following the 2000 season.He parlayed a 3-14 record over the previous two seasons into an 8-year, $121 million contract which served as the richest contract in sports history (until A-Rod signed a few weeks later).Hampton went 14-13 with a 5.00-plus ERA in his first season in Colorado where his changeup was nullified and his work as a ground ball pitcher was wiped out by the thin air.
He followed that up with a 7-15 record and 6.15 ERA in 2002.He was promptly traded after the season and began a string of significant elbow injuries. The opinion that Hampton's game would suffer in Coors Field was widely stated during the Rockies pursuit of Hampton. But the left-hander shrugged off other offers, claiming that the school systems in Denver were the best fit.