By David Heim
Happy Bobby Bonilla Day Mets fans!
For those of you who are unaware, former Mets outfielder Bobby Bonilla cashes in on a $1.2 million contract every July 1. Oh…Bonilla hasn’t played since 2001.
That’s right. The Mets released Bonilla back in 1999, but still owed him $5.9 million that was left on his contract. Instead of just paying Bonilla the money upfront and cutting ties with him completely, the Mets did something much more logical.
The Mets, for some reason, decided it was much more economically sound to defer Bonilla’s payment for a decade. Because of the organization’s financial issues pending from the Bernie Madoff ponzi scheme, the Mets held out paying Bonilla for ten years and picked up payment in 2011 with an annual salary of $1.2 million, plus plenty of interest.
But the real kicker is that the Mets have to pay Bonilla the $1.2 million annually until 2035! That’s a $29.8 million dollar total payout. Not bad for a guy who hasn’t stepped on the field in 15 years.
For transparency purposes, here are some current Mets players salaries that are less than the $1.2 Bonilla will make in 2015.
Matt Harvey – $614,125
Jacob deGrom – $556,875
Zack Wheeler – $546,250
The sad part is this isn’t the only crazy clause found in contracts today. Some guys even get paid after retiring. So, here are some other contracts with clauses that raise eyebrows.
Chris Pronger- NHL
Chris Pronger will make $4.9 million annually through 2017 even though he hasn’t played since 2011. More recently, on June 27, 2015, the Philadelphia Flyers traded Pronger’s contract, which was still on the books financially for the organization, to the Arizona Coyotes for players in return. While Pronger is not going to play for the Coyotes, his $5 million yearly payment is now their problem for the next few years.
Max Scherzer- MLB
When Max Scherzer signed his seven year $210 million contract with the Nationals in January, it raised a ton of eyebrows. But the way the payment breaks down is what really sticks out. Here is how Scherzer’s contract breaks down by yearly payment.
2015: $10 million
2016: $15 million
2017: $15 million
2018: $15 million
2019: $35 million
2020: $35 million
2021: $35 million
Add all that up and you get $160 million, which is still $50 million short of the $210 total. But where is the $50 million difference? Scherzer will get the remaining $50 in interest through 2028, seven years after his contract expires. For those keeping score at home, that’s roughly $7.1 a year. Scherzer will be 37 when his current contract with the Nationals runs out. Who knows if he’ll be playing past his current contract. Even if Scherzer continues playing past 2021, and let’s say he decides to sign with a different team, he’ll still be paid the $7.1 million from the Nationals every year through 2028.
Derek Jeter- MLB
Derek Jeter has always been savvy on the field, but who knew he was equally as smart off of it? Jeter had an extra buyout clause included at the end of his 2011-2013 contract of $3 million. Essentially, Jeter could have opted out of the final year of his contract in 2013 and driven up his price, all while still being paid the $3 million buyout clause. Jeter also could’ve told the Yankees he was retiring and still get the $3 million. $3 million extra to either opt out and renegotiate or retire and keep it as a pension. Not bad Jeets, not bad.
Rick Mirer- NFL
What if the world ended? Back in 1993, this was on the minds of quarterback Rick Mirer and agent Don Yee when they negotiated a contract with the Seattle Seahawks. No seriously. Mirer and Yee wanted to know what would happened if the world ended. How would Mirer be paid? Who would make the payment? With what currency? These were all real questions the two posed in contract talks. This one takes the cake. In the end, Mirer signed with the Seahawks, but his time with the team ended before the world did. Four years later, the Seahawks traded Mirer to the Chicago Bears.
It’s hard to beat the clause in Rick Mirer’s contract, although all of the ones listed above certainly need some consideration. From the smartest of moves on Derek Jeter’s end to the dumbest of decisions in Fred Wilpon deciding to pay a guy until 2035, this list should provide some guidelines on how to and how not to negotiate a contract.
David Heim is a fan of the New England Patriots and New York Yankees. He’s also a contributor to CBS Local Sports and while he is just an intern, is currently looking to get insurance just in case the world ends. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @davidheim12.