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15 Worst Contracts in Sports History

From the Mets paying Bobby Bonilla a million a year until 2035 to Notre Dame giving Charlie Weis close to $20 million to walk away

Worst Contracts in Sports

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The contract is a mere piece of paper that, when signed, can seal fates, make careers and birth legends. That’s the idea, anyway. Unfortunately, throughout the recent history of sports there are some contracts that, well, were just awful ideas in hindsight. From players who never realized their full potential to slick agents who negotiated a lopsided agreement, here are 15 of the downright worst contracts in sports.

Albert Haynesworth

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Albert Haynesworth, Washington

Haynesworth was a promising NFL player when he scored 100 million bucks from Washington, only to play just 20 games and bid adieu. Apparently, it was Haynesworth’s plan all along to get paid a bucketload and say sayonara, which is probably why fellow former Redskin Chris Cooley once called Haynesworth an “awful human being,” telling the Washington Post in 2013: “His goal was to come here, make a large signing bonus and then get released and not have to do any of the work.”

Ilya Kovalchuk

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Ilya Kovalchuk, New Jersey Devils

The NBA, MLB and NFL aren’t the only leagues awash in shitty contracts. Case in point: the tale of Russian NHL ace Ilya Kovalchuk who signed a 15 year (!) $102 million dollar contract with the Devils that wasn’t supposed to wrap up until 2025. Regardless of the fact the team tried their best to skirt around the league’s pesky salary cap rules, the hockey pro decided to walk away from the NHL altogether at the ripe old age of 30 and play in his motherland of Russia. Ilya left with a bundle of cash, only to now reportedly eye a return to his former team. Time will only tell if Kovalchuk will make a deal with the Devil(s) once again.


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Alex Rodriguez, New York Yankees

The embattled former Yankee should get on his hands and knees everyday to thank his lucky stars for the negotiating skills of superagent Scott Boras. That’s because over the course of his turbulent career, Boras successfully netted $448 million for the former star; $317 million from the Yanks alone, including one of the richest contracts in baseball history. While the team did score a World Series ring in 2009 with A-Rod in tow, the majority of the slugger’s twelve seasons as a Bronx Bomber was spent embroiled in scandal or marred by underperformance, ending with the player departing the team last summer with little notice and no fanfare. Oddly enough, A-Rod fired Boras in 2010.

JaMarcus Russell

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JaMarcus Russell, Oakland Raiders

Poor JaMarcus Russell is widely considered to be one of the NFL’s biggest draft busts ever – and for good reason. As the first overall pick in 2007, Russell entered the league a hero, joining the Oakland Raiders who were hungry for a star. He left, however, after three disappointing seasons, and getting away with a cool $32 million in guaranteed cash. A sad addendum: with the NFL long in his rearview mirror, the former QB got the itch to return to the league last year and penned letters to various teams offering to play for free. Not a single one bit

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