Professional sports owners love to give out big contracts. With every passing year, it seems like a new big-money contract has pushed out another one from the top slot.
Athlete’s contracts earn them millions, and when you add in endorsement deals, it’s easy to see how they live such lavish lives. It takes a lot of talent, hard work, and a little bit of good timing to get a rich contract, but these athletes proved to be some of the highest paid in all of sports.
With Manny Machado signing a record-setting contract, it’s crazy to see how he stacks up against the other top names in sports.
In a stunning turn of events, the San Diego Padres won the Machado sweepstakes. The third baseman landed a major payday when he signed a ten-year, $300 million contract with the Padres. That made it the biggest free-agent contract in the history of American sports.
The four-time All-Star’s deal features an opt-out provision after the fifth year of his contract. Machado arrived in Los Angeles prior to the 2018 trade deadline after spending the first six-and-a-half seasons with the Baltimore Orioles.
He wasn’t the first to ask for a huge multi-year contract though. The Yankee coming up next was one of the first to do so.
The New York Yankees signed their superstar to a ten-year $189 million contract. In 2001, the shortstop posted a strong season, batting .311 with 21 home runs and 74 RBIs, making his fourth All-Star appearance along the way.
Following that season, Jeter appeared in nine more All-Star Games and won one more World Series ring in 2009. Now that he’s part owner of the Miami Marlins, it’s only a matter of time before the beloved Yankee gets the call to Cooperstown.
In April 2012, the Cincinnati Reds locked up their first baseman to a 10-year, $225 million extension. The talented ball player won the 2010 MVP Award and a Gold Glove in 2011, plus he’s a six-time All-Star.
The Canadian would finish second in the MVP voting in 2017, narrowly losing out to Giancarlo Stanton by two votes. That became the fourth-closest vote in MLB history. If the Reds get their act together, Votto could be in discussions for the Hall of Fame one day.
After starting his career with the New York Yankees, the next player ahead left for Seattle in 2012.
On July 1, 2017, Curry agreed to a five-year, $201 million extension with the Golden State Warriors. The Davidson alum became the first NBA player to sign a supermax contract worth over $200 million. Curry will be making over $40 million per season, as the prolific scorer is signed through 2022.
After signing the extension, he put the Warriors in place to capture their third championship in four seasons. As long as the point guard continues playing with consistency, he’ll be walking into the Basketball Hall of Fame after his career is over.
The Houston Rockets made sure to keep Harden around for the long haul. The new contract Harden signed is a supermax deal, which guarantees the shooting guard $228 million over the next six seasons. That would make it the richest contract in league history as the extension alone adds another $170 million.
Since the Arizona State alum arrived in Houston, he’s been named the NBA Scoring Champion as well as league MVP. The four-time All-NBA First Team selection has even made seven consecutive All-Star appearances dating back to 2013.
Price’s contract was the largest ever awarded to a pitcher. He would sign a seven-year, $217 million contract with the Boston Red Sox, just edging out both Clayton Kershaw’s and Max Scherzer’s contracts.
The five-time All-Star had two rocky seasons with the team, but turned it around in 2018. The lefty went 16-7 with a 3.58 ERA as the Red Sox would clinch the World Series in five games, and he was named the American League Comeback Player of the Year.
In March 2010, Mauer and the Minnesota Twins agreed to an eight-year deal worth $184 million. The 2009 American League MVP would make consecutive All-Star appearances in 2012 and 2013.
But, after undergoing arthroscopic knee surgery after the 2010 season, Mauer had difficulty finding his groove. The catcher struggled to stay healthy, spending long summers with various ailments. His contract remains the biggest contract in the history of Major League Baseball for a catcher, and he’s the only catcher to win three batting titles.
The next player ahead earned the biggest guaranteed contract in NBA history, and he followed it up with his historic 2016-17 season.
Westbrook signed a five-year, $205 million extension with the Oklahoma City Thunder. The deal earned him the biggest guaranteed contract in NBA history, and he continued on his historic 2016-17 season.
Playing alongside Paul George and Carmelo Anthony, Westbrook became the first player in league history to record a triple-double against 29 different opponents. The 2016 MVP would go on to lead the league in assists for the first time, setting the record for the most triple-doubles in a season with 42.
In 2015, the outfielder signed an eight-year, $184 million deal with the Chicago Cubs. Despite helping the club ending their World Series drought in 2016, Heyward has had a mediocre campaign in the Windy City.
In his first season, he only batted .237 with seven home runs and 49 RBIs on his way to his fourth Gold Glove Award. Heyward, along with teammates Dexter Fowler, Addison Russell, and Carl Edwards Jr. became the first African-Americans to play for the Cubs in a World Series.
Justin Verlander & Mark Teixeira
In 2009, the New York Yankees agreed to an eight-year, $180 million contract with Teixeira. The long-term deal paid off immediately, as the first baseman led the American League in RBIs and home runs. Plus, he was an All-Star who helped the Bronx Bombers win their 27th World Series title.
Four years later, the Detroit Tigers followed suit when they handed their ace a similar contract, but for seven years. After being traded to Houston in 2017, Verlander earned his first World Series ring.
The Arizona Diamondbacks were the winners in the sweepstakes to sign Greinke after he agreed to a six-year, $206.5 million deal. In his first year in the desert, the right-hander was placed on the disabled list due to a left oblique strain.
But, his second year would show he was back to his old self. In 2017, the former Dodger was selected to the National League All-Star team, the fourth selection of his career. Once again, the former Cy Young Award winner was named an All-Star in 2018.
The fireball pitcher got his payday with the Washington Nationals. The former Detroit Tiger inked a seven-year $210 million contract with the club in 2015. Let’s just say that during his time in Washington, he has lived up to every expectation that comes with signing a lucrative contract.
In 2016, he tied the major league nine-inning strikeout record with 20, making him the second player to achieve both a no-hitter and 20 strikeouts in a game. While he has more strikeouts than any pitcher in the 2010s, he also became the third-fastest pitcher to hurl 2,000 strikeouts.
Following the 2011 World Series, Fielder agreed to a nine-year, $214 million contract with the Tigers. While it was the largest contract in the history of the franchise, it was a big mistake. The first baseman never eclipsed the three-year mark on his contract and his poor performance led him to be traded to the Texas Rangers in 2013.
The former Home Run Derby champion would play three seasons with the Rangers, but battled injuries in his neck. In 2016, the Rangers released Fielder, who had four years left on his contract.
The next player ahead is a Canadian who inked a 10-year, $225 million extension in the big leagues.
After winning his second Cy Young Award, Kershaw and the Dodgers agreed to a seven-year, $215 million contract extension. The deal was the richest in MLB history for a pitcher, eclipsing Justin Verlander’s seven-year, $180 million signed the previous year.
The lefty proved his value as he would take home his third Cy Young as well as MVP honors in 2014. Following the 2018 season, the former Triple Crown winner inked another extension when he signed a three-year contract worth $93 million.
The slugger’s triumphant run with the St. Louis Cardinals came to an end in 2012. The future Hall of Famer inked a ten-year, $240 million contract with the Los Angeles Angels. Despite being out of his prime, Pujols continued to rake in the ballpark.
In 2018, he recorded his 3,000th major league hit against Mike Leake of the Seattle Mariners. Later that season, he hit eclipsed 630 home runs, surpassing Hall of Fame great Ken Griffey Jr.
After starting his career with the New York Yankees, the second baseman left in 2012. Cano would sign with the Seattle Mariners, inking a 10-year, $240 million contract with the club. The five-time Silver Slugger Award winner played well, but couldn’t help the M’s end their playoff drought.
Unfortunately, he was suspended for 80 games for testing positive for Furosemide, a banned substance. The Mariners would shed payroll and trade Cano to the New York Mets in a seven-player deal in 2018.
The biggest free-agent contract in the history of American sports is coming up.
In 2014, the Tigers signed the slugger to an eight-year, $248 million extension through 2023, increasing his total to $292 million over 10 years. The infielder was coming off consecutive MVP seasons at the time of the extension, but he never won the award again.
Cabrera remained a dangerous hitter in 2015, but soon faced disappointing seasons in 2016 and 2017. The 11-time All-Stars played only 38 games during an injury-plagued season in 2018.
The third baseman became a free agent in 2000, eventually signing with the Texas Rangers. At the time, the contract he signed was the most lucrative in sports history, a ten-year deal worth $252 million.
The deal was worth $63 million more than the second-richest baseball deal. However, Rodriguez never helped the Rangers win, posting three last-place finishes during his tenure. In 2004, the two-time Gold Glove winner was shipped to the Yankees for Alfonso Soriano.
The outfielder and the Miami Marlins agreed to a 13-year, $235 million extensions. The deal included a no-trade clause, but Stanton can opt out of the contract after he turns 30. However, after winning the NL MVP Award in 2017, the Marlins shipped their slugger to the Yankees with his blessing.
His 211 strikeouts in 2018 broke the previous franchise record held by Aaron Judge. But, Stanton got his first taste of playoff baseball that same season. He hit his first career postseason home run off Blake Treinen in the AL Wild Card Game.
The boxer agreed to a five-year, 11-fight contract with streaming service DAZN. At $365 million, Álvarez signed the largest contract in the history of the sport. The move comes after DAZN looks to exploit a gap in the market following HBO announcing the end of their boxing broadcast.
Over the next five years, the multiple-world champion will earn an astounding $73 million per year. The previous richest contract was the deal Stanton signed with the Marlins in 2014.