June 20, 2013

Worst Contracts in Professional Sports

By - Tim Swift

Last week we tackled some of the best contracts in sports and the impact those players have on their respective teams. Now we'll look at the flip side.

These contracts are a constant punchline for fans and the media, and reflect poorly on the general managers who signed off on them. In the NFL, you can usually get out of a bad deal, but often times in the NBA and MLB you are handcuffed to the contracts for years.

Here are some of the worst in professional sports today.

NFL: Mark Sanchez, New York Jets; 5 years - $58 million

Photo by: Andy Lyons
Sanchez is set to make just under $13 million in 2013, and there are still doubts as to whether he will even be the starting quarterback. In his 4-year career, Sanchez has never completed over 57% of his passes and has thrown 69 interceptions to just 68 touchdowns. These numbers would not have even been good back in the 60s when the rules were slanted to favor defenses. He received an extension on his rookie deal last year after a pair of AFC title game appearances, when the running game and the defense were the primary reasons why the Jets got there in the first place. Sanchez's contract does not expire until 2016, but it's safe to say that there's no way he will see the $41 million over 3 years that is due to him after this season.

NBA: Joe Johnson, Brooklyn Nets; 6 years - $123.6 million

Johnson will be the 4th-highest paid player in the NBA next season, "earning" over $21 million. Yes, the Nets did trade for him last summer, but the origins of this cap-busting deal started with the Atlanta Hawks. Since averaging 25 points per in 2006-07, Johnson's points per game average has dropped every year since, and if he isn't scoring, he really doesn't bring anything else to the table. There is no relief in sight for Brooklyn, with 3 years and $68 million still due on the deal. This contract now looks even worse when you consider Johnson's recent knee problems and the fact that he is now on the wrong side of 30.

MLB: Alex Rodriguez, New York; 10 years - $275 million

Everyone's favorite whipping boy makes the list, and for good reason. The last two years A-Rod's productivity has dropped off in a major way, and he has missed 103 games over that time span to boot. Now with the Biogenesis scandal, and the fact that he has not played an inning this season, this contract is by far the worst in sports. There was a time when Rodriguez was a major cog on a World Series champion, but now at 37, the Bronx Bombers are basically paying him for nothing. The Yanks are one of the few teams that can absorb this deal and still remain competitive, so the time has probably come to send A-Rod packing.

NHL: Brian Campbell, Florida Panthers; 8 years - $57 million

The Panthers got a bit of relief in 2013, only having to pay Campbell $4.1 mill because of the strike-shortened season. Still, this is a bad contract for a team that has only made the playoffs once since 2001. The deal was initiated by the Chicago Blackhawks, because they were smart enough to realize that they had to get rid of the aging defenseman. Campbell logged an outstanding +41 rating in his last three years in Chicago, and helped the team win the Stanley Cup in 2010. However, in his first two seasons with the Panthers with way less talent around him, that number has dipped to a -31 rating. There are still 3 years left on this deal, so Florida's only hope for reprieve is to find a trade partner willing to take on some of the contract.

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