5 Unusual Pro Athlete Contract Incentives

by Rob Joyce

How does a five-figure bonus sound for essentially doing your job? Seahawks’ running back Eddie Lacy is primed to do just that as he has his second weigh-in with Seattle. Lacy – who battled weight issues during his run with the Packers – is primed to make $55,000 for weighing less than 250 pounds, the second such bonus he’s received this offseason. If every benchmark is made throughout the year, he will earn an additional $385,000 for what amounts to a professional athlete staying in shape.

Adding incentives to a contract is a good way to 1) circumvent the salary cap and 2) add a little extra motivation for a player. While a standard incentive is normally set for being named an All-Pro, hitting a personal statistical milestone or making a postseason run, these five athletes had contracts in the mold of Lacy, in that their incentives got a little creative:

Adonal Foyle:

adonal foyle 5 Unusual Pro Athlete Contract Incentives

(Photo by Sam Greenwood/Getty Images)

It’s common for most big-name players to have MVP bonuses in their contracts. It’s not every day, though, that they get placed in the fine print for a journeyman forward. A 13-year veteran, Foyle was at the tail end of his career in 2007 when he signed with the Magic. If he won the league’s MVP and Finals MVP he’d earn an extra million dollars. His stats for the year: 1.9 points and 2.5 rebounds per game, while playing 11 total minutes in three playoff games.

Baron Davis:

baron davis 5 Unusual Pro Athlete Contract Incentives

(Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)

Prior to the start of the decade the Clippers’ history was… well… less than stellar. So desperate were they for relevance that prior to the 2009-10 season they offered Baron Davis a contract that included a $1 million incentive. To reach it? He’d have to play in at least 70 games (he did) and the team would have to finish 30-52… a whopping .366 win percentage. Unfortunately for Davis, Los Angeles finished the season 29-53, a game below the requirement.

Rick Mirer:

rick mirer 5 Unusual Pro Athlete Contract Incentives

(Photo Credit: Al Bello/Getty Images)

The second overall pick in the 1993 NFL Draft, the Seattle quarterback’s five-year, $16-million contract was initially voided by the NFL. The main reason for the dispute was a $3 million bonus for Mirer if the Seahawks (2-14 the year prior) won three games. The far more interesting clause, though, is the line that stated Mirer should be paid under all conditions, including “the end of the world”. Because if you have to rebuild humanity yourself, you best get paid for it.

Rollie Fingers:

rollie fingers 5 Unusual Pro Athlete Contract Incentives

(Photo by Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images)

The holder of one of the greatest mustaches in sports history had a reason to keep it. Oakland Athletics’ owner Charlie Finley offered $300 to the player who could grow the best lip toupee. Enter the Hall of Famer, with his exquisite handlebar ‘stache. It was so good that Fingers worked a clause into his next contract: $300 for keeping the mustache, with an additional $100 worth of waxing supplies provided to him.

Troy Glaus:

troy glaus 5 Unusual Pro Athlete Contract Incentives

(Photo by Lisa Blumenfeld/Getty Images)

The former slugger signed a $45 million deal with the Diamondbacks in 2005, with a $250,000 guarantee each year for “personal business expenses”. More specifically – Arizona was paying for the equestrian work of Glaus’ wife, in both three-day eventing and show jumping.

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