Money, money, money

Emin Avakian

It is now safe to say that it is only a matter of time before professional athletes are asking for billion-dollar contracts.’

Or better yet, asking for a one-year, $50 million contract.’ It’s coming, sports fans.

Because in these times of overpaying athletes, they and their agents are running things. General Managers are giving in time after time, and, in doing so, are making bad business decisions time after time.

And these times date back a while now. We’ve been seeing it in all the major leagues. Kevin Garnett, Shaquille O’Neal, and Alex Rodriguez – just to name three – were getting $100 million deals close to a decade ago. Big-time contracts for big-time superstars are nothing new.’

However, Garnett, O’Neal, Rodriguez – steroids notwithstanding – and others who can provide for their families and possibly yours and mine, deserved big money after proving it over a long period of time. For example, after finding out that Rodriguez signed a $252 million contract in 2000, a lot of people understood why the Rangers would offer that much. A-Rod had been more than solid for five straight seasons in Seattle.’

Recently, though, we’ve been seeing athletes have one great season, and then ask for money like they’re overdue. What happened to playing out a contract, then earning a better one?’

We see holdouts happen mostly in the NFL because parts of contracts aren’t guaranteed. The men in pads are forced to always ask for that better deal. Realistically, a football player will be lucky to get one big contract in his career.’

Albert Haynesworth signed a $100 million contract. Albert Haynesworth signed a $100 million contract. Albert Haynesworth signed a $100 million contract.’

Sorry. Not even saying it over and over again helped making sense of the Washington Redskins taking a costly leap of faith on a defensive tackle who has missed 10 games over the past three years and that has been fully healthy for only one of his seven NFL seasons.

Haynesworth had a great 2008 season with 51 tackles, 8.5 sacks while anchoring the Tennessee Titans’ defense. But come on, really? $100 million dollars to a guy who had only one sack to show for his previous five seasons?’

The Redskins are paying for the 2008 Haynesworth. Their hope is that he will continue his stellar play and be the anchor of a defense again. But history tells us that an athlete who has one sudden great season to earn a contract does not play well the season after he is given that big contract. That’s just the way it is. Haynesworth will not change the pattern.’

Another athlete that has been making headlines lately is Manny Ramirez.’

There were reports on Tuesday that Ramirez and the Los Angeles Dodgers finally ended up agreeing on a two-year, $45 million contract.

The Dodgers are overpaying Ramirez. They know it. Their fans know it. But they’re still signing him because they understand that their team would finish second in the NL West without him, and that’s a best-case scenario.’

With Ramirez, one of the greatest hitters in baseball history, in the lineup, the Dodgers win the division.

The problem is: Ramirez turns 37 in May. He shouldn’t be getting $45 million over two years. Baseball players in their late 30’s sign for veteran minimums. ‘

But hey, sign of the times. When Haynesworth can get $100 million, why shouldn’t more-proven athletes be asking for ridiculous amounts? Agents know the sign of the times. They make sure they let their athletes know, and then they both go talk to the general manager, who is in a lose-lose situation.’

In these tough economic times, it’d be nice if everybody was a professional athlete. Just imagine yourself signing on the dotted line of that 25-year, unlimited-amount-of-money contract.