In the world of sports, there may be no more fun, exciting, nerve-wracking and absurd time than during free agency. Whether it is in the NFL, MLB, NBA or NHL, seeing players swap jerseys, uniforms and sweaters brings mixed emotions.
However, not every free agent signing works out for the franchise in the way they hoped. There have been plenty of instances in the past where organizations have regretted dishing out millions of dollars to players who either A) don't deserve it or B) don't live up to the hype.
In the NFL, recent contract signings such as Torrey Smith to the San Francisco 49ers or Lamarr Houston to the Chicago Bears didn't go as the teams planned. Similarly, the MLB has their fair share of bad deals as well. You don't have to look that far back to see how pacts like Josh Hamilton and the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim or Joey Votto and the Cincinnati Reds have backfired greatly.
Those problems don't only exist in the NFL and MLB. In terms of the NBA, Amar’e Stoudemire’s massive contract with the New York Knicks and Rashard Lewis’s mega deal with the Orlando Magic ended up just as bad as people thought when the ink hit the paper. The NHL, too, has had its fair share of terrible contract signings; think Rick DiPietro of the New York Islanders or Wade Redden of the neighboring New York Rangers.
The deals mentioned above were bad - but there are still plenty of terrible deals going on today. Check out this list of the top 20 worst contracts in sports today.
20 Ndamukong Suh - Six Years, $114 Million
It’s tough to call defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh’s newly signed contract with the Miami Dolphins a bust; after all, he is less than one season into the deal. However, all signs are pointing to the pact becoming one of the worst in sports.
After becoming one of the most dominant and fearsome forces on the defensive side of the football with the Detroit Lions, he bolted the team who drafted him this offseason to chase the money. Who wouldn’t? After all, Suh was rewarded with the largest contract for a defensive football player in the history of the NFL.
19 Omer Asik - Five Years, $58 Million
Sure, it is known that the NBA’s salary cap is going to rise in the upcoming years. However, the New Orleans Pelicans paid a hefty price for Omer Asik, who has the skill set better suited to be a backup center rather than one of the highest paid players at his position.
18 Dion Phaneuf - Seven Years, $49 Million
When the Toronto Maple Leafs awarded captain Dion Phaneuf a seven-year, $49 million contract extension it seemed like the right move. After all, Phaneuf was one of the best defenseman in the NHL at that time, and he would have been offered contracts from a multitude of teams as a free agent.
17 David Price - Seven Years, $217 Million
16 Jay Cutler - Seven Years, $126.7 Million
Although he had previously shown inconsistencies with in his past, Jay Cutler’s big play ability and flashes of brilliance earned him a seven-year, $126.7 contract extension with the Chicago Bears in January of 2014.
15 Justin Verlander - Seven Years, $180 Million
At the time of starting pitcher Justin Verlander’s seven-year, $180 million extension with the Detroit Tigers, he was the highest paid pitcher in league history. However, the money was warranted. It was obvious that Verlander was one of if not the best pitcher in the game at that time.
14 Mike Smith - Four Years, $32 Million
Mike Smith showed flashes of an emerging goalie in Dallas and Tampa Bay, but really emerged after signing with Arizona in 2011.
In his first season with the Coyotes, Smith posted career numbers and led the team to the Western Conference Finals. Due to those efforts, the organization awarded Smith with a six-year, $34 million extension.
13 Andrew MacDonald - Six Years, $30 Million
After being drafted by the New York Islanders in 2006, defenseman Andrew MacDonald showed the ability to be a sound defensive presence while chipping in on offense. In five seasons on Long Island, MacDonald proved that he was a serviceable defenseman.
In his contract year, the Islanders sought trade value for MacDonald. The team sent him to the Philadelphia Flyers, who promptly inked MacDonald to a six-year, $30 million contract.
12 Joe Johnson - Six Years, $123.7 Million
While with the Phoenix Suns and Atlanta Hawks, Joe Johnson proved that he could be a great secondary scorer in the NBA; his offense made him a highly sought-after man during the free agent frenzy of 2010.
With stars like LeBron James, Chris Bosh and Dirk Nowitzki receiving huge contracts, the Hawks followed that trend with Johnson. Little did everyone realize, after free agency concluded, Johnson’s six-year, $123.7 million deal would make him the highest paid player in the game.
11 Troy Tulowitzki - Ten Years, $153 million
The shortstop position in baseball is one that lacks true star power however, the Colorado Rockies realized that Troy Tulowitzki was one of the best in the game, as they rewarded him with a 10-year, $158 million contract extension before the 2010 season - and he eventually made even more money due to contract extensions.
With his contract appearing untradeable, the Rockies were able to send him the Toronto Blue Jays this past trade deadline. Unfortunately, not only did he hit just .239 with the team, but the injury bug continued to plague him. To add salt to the wound, Tulowitzki is owed $20 million in each of the next four seasons.
10 Rick Porcello - Five Years, $82.5 Million
With a lack of quality starting pitching on the Boston Red Sox roster, the organization decided to ship enigmatic outfielder Yoenis Cespedes to the Detroit Tigers to acquire pitcher Rick Porcello, who was good, but not great in six seasons.
9 Dave Bolland - Five Years, $27.5 Million
Starting out his career with the Chicago Blackhawks, center Dave Bolldand was one of the most unheralded players on the roster. Typically playing as a third line center, Bolland’s checking abilities helped lead the Blackhawks to two Stanley Cup Championships in his tenure.
During the 2013 offseason, Bolland was shipped to the Toronto Maple Leafs. After having just 12 points in 23 games, the Leafs decided to not offer a strong deal to Bolland. Because of this, the center accepted a five-year, $27.5 million contract with the Florida Panthers.
8 Enes Kanter - Four Years, $70 Million
Enes Kanter was deemed ineligible to join the Kentucky Wildcats for college, but his overseas play still earned him a high draft selection, as the Utah Jazz selected him third overall in 2011.
While he showed flashes as a versatile scorer and rebounder, the emergence of Derrick Favors and Rudy Gobert limited Kanter’s playing time. The Jazz shipped Kanter to the Oklahoma City Thunder last season at the trade deadline. In his half of a season with the Thunder, Kanter continued to impress.
7 Ryan Zimmerman - Six Years, $100 Million
In the early stages of the Washington Nationals, there was a lack of impact players on the roster. However, homegrown talent Ryan Zimmerman went from a strong player to a man who was able to give the organization some credibility.
6 Julius Thomas - Five Years, $46 Million
Similar to that of Ndamukong Suh, tight end Julius Thomas took the money this offseason, leaving contending Denver Broncos to become a bigger part of the offense with the struggling Jacksonville Jaguars.
With Peyton Manning throwing him the ball, Thomas emerged as one of the best threats from the tight end position, as he combined to haul in 108 receptions and 24 touchdowns in 2013 and 2014.
5 Colin Kaepernick - Six Years, $126 Million
The San Francisco 49ers felt that they need more upside at quarterback in the 2012 season. When Alex Smith went down with a concussion, they turned the reigns over to Colin Kaepernick and never looked back, even when Smith was healthy.
In his first season, Kaepernick emerged as one of the best dual threat quarterbacks in the NFL. With a cannon for an arm, he threw 21 touchdowns to eight interceptions, leading his team to a 12-4 record and a Super Bowl berth. The 49ers rewarded Kapernick, as the two sides agreed to terms on a six-year, $126 million contract extension.
4 Carmelo Anthony - Five Years, $124 Million
When a superstar over 30 gets signed to a massive extension, more likely than not the franchise is paying for what the player has already done and not what they will do in the future.
Anthony’s resume is filled with great accomplishments. When he was traded to the Knicks, he was supposed to revitalize the franchise. While he brought the team to the playoffs three times, Anthony has never been able to get the Knicks past the second round.
3 David Clarkson - Five Years, $36.75 Million
Heading into the 2013 offseason, forward David Clarkson was a player that everyone would like to have on their team. With the New Jersey Devils, Clarkson proved to be a physical presence on the forecheck while also contributing on the offensive end, typically as a second or third line winger.
Sure, he is someone that everyone would love on their team, but to pay him like a franchise superstar was a poor decision on the Toronto Maple Leafs part, as they signed him to a five-year, $36.75 million deal.
2 Byron Maxwell - Five Year, $63 Million Contract
Like both Ndamukong Suh and Julius Thomas, cornerback Byron Maxwell, too, cashed in on a free agent deal, as he signed a massive six-year, $63 million contract with the Philadelphia Eagles, with the hopes that he would develop into a number one cornerback; key word - hoped.
Starting as part of the Legion of Boom with the Seattle Seahawks, Maxwell proved to be a physical player while also gaining experience by playing in consecutive Super Bowl games.
1 Robinson Cano - 10 Years, $240 Million
There are many bad contracts throughout the sports world today. However, there may be none worse than the one given to second basemen Robinson Cano by the Seattle Mariners, as the two agreed to terms on a ten-year, $240 million contract before the 2014 season began.
It seemed reasonable for the best second baseman and one of the best hitters in the game. While playing for the Yankees, Cano combined to slash .309/.355/.504 to go along with 204 home runs, five All-Star appearances and two Gold Gloves.
The Yankees didn't want to go 10 years, so Cano went to the Mariners. Unfortunately, things haven’t worked out. After a solid first campaign, Cano struggled to his standards in 2015. Hitting just .287, his numbers were down, while also showing signs of apathy. The 33-year-old still has eight years left on his deal and there have been recent rumors that he is unhappy in Seattle and would love to return to the Yankees.
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