When a team signs a superstar player, it usually gets fans extremely excited. In Philadelphia, Flyers fans were rejoicing over finally getting a good goaltender! Oakland Raiders fans thought they had their quarterback of the future back in 20007. But sometimes, things just don’t go as planned. Lets look at some current and past contracts that are just awful. (Contract figures from spotrac.com)
1. Rick DiPietrio, 15 years/67.5 m: The Islanders thought they have found their goaltender of the future when they drafted “DP” first overall in 2000. Known for his mobility and puck handling skills, the Islanders shipped out an actual good goalie in Roberto Luongo to make room for “DP”! His career has been full of average play, injuries and the infamous fight where he got one punched by Penguins backup goalie Brent Johnson. Now, “DP” is playing in the minors, with talk about him being suicidal recently. This albatross of contract will have a 4.5 m cap hit on the Islanders cap until 2020, easily one of the worst contracts in sports.
2. Alexei Yashin, 10 years/87.5 m: Before the Islanders handed out their stupid contract to “DP”, the Islanders made another great move, trading Zdeno Chara (yes, Boston’s big defenseman) for Yashin, then giving him this 10 year deal! In June 2007, the Islanders bought out Yashin for 17 million. This contract is so stupid though, because imagine if the Islanders had Chara to defend for Luongo? The Islanders set themselves back for years, and are still trying to recover.
3. Wade Redden, 6 years/39 m: The Rangers signed Redden as a free agent in 2008, and thought they had found their dominant, power play running defenseman. What the Rangers got was uninspired play, and while Redden was considered one of the best defenseman in the game, he never got going in New York. Redden was buried in the minors for years until the team used one of their two amnesty buyouts to finally rid themselves of Redden.
4. Daisuke Matsuzaka- 6 years/52 m: The Sox thought they found their next big star pitcher, as “Dice-K” came over from Japan with tons of hype. He had a repertoire of nasty pitches, and many thought he would absolutely dominate the MLB. The Sox paid a hefty price on top of the contract, paying 51 million just to negotiate a deal with Dice-K! The Sox were happy to get their prize, and keep him away from the Yankees. Matszuka started off his career pretty well, but wasn’t anything special or worth the money. He was released by the Sox following the 2012 season, and is now fighting for a roster spot on the Cleveland Indians.
5. Jamarcus Russell- 6 years/68 m: The Raiders picked Russell number one overall in 2007, and many viewed Russell as a can’t miss pick. He was a big guy, and had great arm strength. After some years of average play, Russell lost his job midway through the 2009 season for Bruce Gradkowski and never recovered. He showed up to training camp the next year weighing around 300 pounds! He was released in May of 2010, and should be in jail for stealing from the Raiders.
6. Alex Rodriguez- 10 years/275 m: While Arod’s original 10 year, 252 million dollar contract from the Texas Rangers was worth it due to Rodriguez putting up good numbers and being young, the 10 year deal the Yankees gave him in 2007 was a real head scratcher, even more confusing because there wasn’t really any other team looking to sign Arod. The Yankees are stuck with Arod until 2017 when he will make 20 million! Arod may not even play in 2013 and his skills are in serious decline, not to mention his constant off the field problems and steroid accusations. To have this drama stuck on the team for four more years is mind boggling, and many Yankees fans would love to see him go!
7. Mike Vick- Atlanta 10/100 m, Philly 6 years/100 m: Vick got TWO 100 million dollar contracts, and has now lost both. The first was with the Falcons, who signed their exciting young quarterback for what they thought was life. We all know the story, dog fighting leads to prison for Vick, who loses his contract. Few years later, Vick takes over the Eagles job for cheap, plays great and gets rewarded with another 100 million dollar contract, with 40 million guaranteed! Now, Vick is on a one year deal with Philly for 7 million, fighting for the QB job. Vick can never stay healthy, and will never lead his team to the promised land because of it.
8. Mark Sanchez- 5 years/58.25 m: This one tortures Jets fans. After missing out on Peyton Manning and trading for Tim Tebow, the Jets decided to give Sanchez a 3 year contract extension, despite having a sub par year in 2011 and two years left on his current deal. Now, the Jets are stuck with Sanchez, while players who deserve big paydays, like Darrelle Revis will be traded. Despite being drafted 5th overall in 2009, Sanchez has shown no signs of getting better, and was one of the worst QB’s in the NFL in 2012! Sanchez single handily killed the Jets season in Tennessee, turning the ball over FIVE times in a loss the team desperately needed to win. Still, Rex keeps sending Sanchez back out there, and will most likely be the starter in 2013, a thought that makes many Jets fans sick.
9. Amare Stoudermire- 5 years/100 m: Poor Amare, he is a great guy and player, but he just can’t stay healthy. When the Knicks missed out on signing LeBron James and Chris Bosh during the summer of 2010, they had to come away with something. The team had spent the past few years clearing salary to sign a big player, and they turned to Amare to fill the void. Amare brought the Knicks back to relevancy, helping the team reach the playoffs and hearing MVP chants from the Garden crowd. Amare is in year three of his contract, and he is has missed most of the year due to his bad knees. He has two years left with over 20 million, but no team will trade for his uninsured contract, basically making him unmovable.
10. Ilya Bryzgalov- 9 years/51 m: Flyers fans were ecstatic when the team signed Bryzgalov before the 2012 season. He played well early on, and became a fan favorite for his weird antics displayed on HBO’s hit show, 24/7. Bryz has not lived up to standards however, seeming too mentally weak at times. Philly is a huge market and the pressure may be getting to the usually calm and quiet player. There is already talk of the team using their amnesty buyout on Bryz, which would be a good idea. The Flyers can find a goalie for cheap, and may be kicking themselves for letting Sergei Bobrovsky go to Columbus. Bryzs’ five hole is so humangous big!
Other notable contracts:
AJ Burnett (5/82.5m), Brad Richards (9/60m), Barry Zito (7/126m), Carl Pavano (NYY)(4/39.95m), Carl Crawford (7/142m), Carson Palmer (4/43m), Allan Houston (6/100m) (Didn’t even play final two years!), Vernon Wells (7/126m), Gilbert Arenas (6/111m), Joe Johnson (6/119m), John Lackey (5/82.5m) Stephon Marbury (4/76m), Scott Gomez (7/51.5m), Ilya Kovalchuk (15/100m), Carlos Boozer (5/82m), Jayson Werth (7/126m), Johan Santana (6/137.5m).