The growing list of millionaire athletes seems to expand almost seamlessly across the horizon. From the United States across the globe to Europe, athletes earn top pay for their services in team sports.
In contrast to individual sports, where earnings in golf, tennis and NASCAR come mostly from achievements, rewards and endorsements, team sports seem to constantly and continuously shell out expensive salaries to free agents and rookies with the hope of a valid return-on-investment.
Even coaches, ranging from recently retired NBA Hall of Famer Phil Jackson to current Alabama Crimson Tide coach Nick Saban earn more money than almost anyone else in their respective organization or university. There are many figures in sports that seem to grab a paycheck without really validating their worth or are overcompensated based on a smooth talking agent or reputation that can only carry so far.
With that said, here is a list of the top 10 most over-paid figures in all of sports, during this year.
10) Peyton Manning, Indianapolis Colts, $16 million for 2011
While we all respect Mr. Manning’s talent and ability, he has not been able to suit up this season due to a nagging neck injury and surgery that has forced him to sit the Colts’ first 12 games with his team going 0-12 during that stretch. This comes off of a 5-year, $90 million contract that Manning and the Colts agreed upon this summer, with Manning slated to make $69 million during the first three years of the deal. Here’s hoping that Manning can get back to football shape for the remainder of his deal.
9) Vince Carter, Phoenix Suns, $17,522,375 (2010-2011)
VinSanity is and always will be one of the most prolific and exciting dunkers of all time. His game is not bad either as he could score the ball with ease at times and be an all-around threat. Unfortunately, his reputation for not being able to rise to the occasion and showing up in big games has hurt his worth to the point that the Orlando Magic traded him just one year after acquiring him. With the lockout officially over, its been reported that the Suns plan to release Carter, who is in the final year of his four-year, $61 million contract.
8) Matt Cassel, Kansas City Chiefs, $12,455,200
Unfortunately for the Chiefs and former backup USC quarterback, this season has been a loss as Cassel is out for the rest of year with a hand injury. After leading the New England Patriots to a 11-5 record, despite missing the playoffs, Cassel landed a big contract with the Chiefs after being traded during the 2009 offseason. His time there has not been a total failure as the team made the playoffs last year.
7) Carlos Boozer, Chicago Bulls, $15,000,000
The former Duke Blue Devil has found success in the NBA and has been one of the highest paid players in the NBA for quite some time. Unfortunately, Boozer now plays for the Chicago Bulls in one of the biggest media markets where the spotlight is definitely turned up. Boozer was a major disappointment for the Bulls during last year’s playoff run, sitting on the bench during the 4th quarter of several games against the Miami Heat in the conference finals. To make matters worse, the Bulls have Boozer on the books for another four years and $60 million.
6) Alex Rodriguez, New York Yankees, $32,000,000
The New York Yankees didn’t envision Alex Rodriguez turning in the year he just did when they signed him to a 10 year/$275 contract extension in 2007. Despite coming big for the Yankees during their 2009 World Series, Rodriguez has had a chance to earn his money in the past two postseasons. He came up to bat with runners on and two outs, coming up short both times and ending the Yankees’ season in the process. Rodriguez had a bad year, appearing in just 99 games, batting .276 with 16 home runs and 62 RBIs. His postseason was even worse as he went just 2 for 18, including the last at bat of the year for the Yanks. Rodriguez went from being the highest paid player in baseball to the most overpaid in just a matter of months.
5) David Stern, NBA Commissioner
David Stern is not a player, nor is he a coach, but he is the most influential figure in all of the NBA. During the lockout, it was reported that he made somewhere between $20-23 million annually, a number that the owners agree upon with the Commissioner for his services. With the second lockout in just 12 years and a number of teams in financial trouble, Stern has had as much as success as he has failures during his tenure. Don’t look for any support from Washington either as Stern handled the relocation of the Sonics about as well as he would dribbling a basketball.
4) Carl Crawford, Boston Red Sox, $14,857,143
After leaving the Tampa Bay Rays, Carl Crawford seem destined for a great run with the Red Sox when he signed a 7-year, $142 million deal with the organization. Unfortunately, Crawford struggled tremendously in his first year under the limelight of a major city and historic franchise. Crawford hit 11 home runs, 55 RBI’s and just .255 batting average. Crawford became an immediate bust and has a long way to go to live up to his reputation and contract, which still has six years remaining.
3) Rashard Lewis, Washington Wizards, $19,573,511
Coming off a few good seasons with the Seattle SuperSonics, Lewis was looking for a good contract during the 2007 offseason. The Orlando Magic came knocking with a six-year, $113 million contract, with even more in incentives. The public backlash to the contract was a nightmare for the Magic and Lewis, who never lived up to the deal. Despite performing well and helping the Magic to the Finals in 2009, Lewis could not escape the negativity of the deal. The team dealt in him last season to the Wizards for another player on this list, and Lewis himself voiced the over-value of his contract.
2) Barry Zito, San Francisco Giants, $18,500,000
Maybe it’s the California sunshine or the fact that he owns a house in Los Angeles, but Giants’ pitcher Barry Zito has been a tremendous bust ever since the day he was signed. After signing a seven-year, $126 million deal and moving across the Bay Area from the Oakland Athletics, Zito has performed poorly, winning just three games this last season with a horrid 5.87 ERA. Unfortunately for the Giants, Zito’s trade value is low and his contract is extremely high, a terrible combination.
1) Gilbert Arenas, Orlando Magic, $17,730,694
Agent Zero, as he likes to be known as, Gilbert Arenas was and always will be remembered for being able to torch teams and make big shots. But that was then and this is now, and Arenas has been injured for the better part of the last five years. After missing 78 games during the 2007-2008 season, Arenas was awarded a six-year, $111 million deal with the Washington Wizards. After missing more time the following season, Arenas was fully healthy, but after a dispute about a gambling debt, Arenas was suspended during the 2009-2010 campaign for bringing guns into the locker room of his team. Gilbert was traded to the Orlando Magic for Rashard Lewis last season to be the number two guy behind Dwight Howard. He ended up lacking in explosiveness and became a bench player where he floundered even more. In just year four of his deal this upcoming season, Gilbert gets the top honor as the most overpaid figure in sports.
Dis-honorable Mentions: Jorge Posada, Michael Redd, Mark Sanchez, DeAngelo Hall, Phil Jackson, Alfonso Soriano and Carlos Beltran.