12 of the Richest Contracts in Sport

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Let’s just get this out of the way: Patrick Mahomes got PAID signing the richest contract in NFL history with the Kansas City Chiefs.

His 10-year extension runs until the end of the 2031 NFL season and is worth US$477m while incentives could push the total value of the deal to $503m.

At the current exchange rate, Mahomes is set to earn somewhere between A$684m and A$722.1m so you would hope he is financially secured for the rest of his several of his offspring’s lives.

With an NFL MVP, a Super Bowl MVP and a Super Bowl title from his two years as a starter and the NFL salary cap rising every season, it’s no surprise the Chiefs locked down their signal caller for the long term.

There’s always ridiculous amounts of money getting thrown around and we’ve found some of the richest deals in sport here.

Russell Wilson – NFL

Before Mahomes signed his deal, Russell Wilson’s four year, US$140m extension with the Seahawks was the previous high benchmark for new money in a deal.

If you’ve watched any Seattle games over the last few seasons you’d know Wilson was basically a one man show and the key for the NFC West side going forward.

If I were running the Seahawks I’d have torn up the deal the minute I saw this massively cringeworthy Tweet though.

Mike Trout – MLB

In March 2019, the then-two time AL MVP signed a league record 12-year US$426m deal with the LA Angels at US$35.5m per year.

With an award-laden resume, Trout is one of the best hitters in baseball leading several key statistical areas throughout his career.

Unlike some players who signed big deals though, Trout then rewarded his side’s faith in him winning his third AL MVP award for the 2019 season and is well on his way to induction in the MLB Hall of Fame.

Bryce Harper – MLB

Bryce Harper broke the hearts of a whole lot of people in Washington when he bailed on the team he had spent seven seasons with in 2018.

He left for a 13 year, US$330m deal with the Philadelphia Phillies which was the largest deal in MLB history.

Safe to say Washington had the last laugh though, winning the World Series in their first Harper-less season.

We could do a whole list of baseball deals but just know that there’s plenty of MLB players earning over US$30m per year and we’ll move on to some other sports.

Canelo Alvarez – Boxing

Boxers get paid obscene amounts to punch each other (and get punched themselves) but it’s hard to quantify their annual salary since it depends on how many bouts they take part in.

Streaming service DAZN (apparently pronounced “Da-Zone”) has allowed Canelo Alvarez to enjoy some level of financial certainty though, locking him into a five year, 11-fight deal with US$365m per year.

That averages out to $33.18m per fight or $73m per year for the man with a record of 53 wins from 56 fights (with two draws and a solitary defeat).

His ability to fight over five weight classes allows him plenty of flexibility to pick and choose his opponents over the life of this deal.

So far he is three fights win, defeating Rocky Fielding by TKO in December 2018, Daniel Jacobs by unanimous decision in May 2019 and finally Sergey Kovalev by knockout in 2019.

Fair to say that he is one of boxing’s most marketable assets now and he is cashing in on it while he can.

James Harden – NBA

Before the 2017/2018 NBA season, Harden signed a four year extension on his existing deal with the Houston Rockets, with US$160m in new money making it a six-year, US$228m deal that will tie him to the franchise until June 2023.

One of the game’s best scorers, ‘The Beard’ has averaged over 25 points per game in each of his seven seasons with the Rockets, including a career high 36.1 average in the 2018/2019 campaign and a 31.6 average in the 2019 playoffs.

Damian Lillard – NBA

Keeping players in Portland can be a bit of a stretch for the Trail Blazers so when they have a talent like Damien Lillard, they have to go all out to keep them around.

On the back of a five year, US$120m contract with the Trail Blazers in 2015, he signed a four-year extension that runs from 2021 to 2025 worth US$196m or an insane $49m/year.

If he can keep ending NBA playoff series from the centre court logo, he might be worth the money.

Of course if we think that’s an insane number, just wait for Giannis to get his next deal from the Bucks.

Kimi Raikkonen – Formula 1

When the Finnish driver joined Ferrari in 2007, his salary was an insane $51m per year and that first campaign went perfectly, starting off with a win at the Australian Grand Prix and finishing with his first (and to this date only) F1 World Title.

Things went downhill from there as he finished third and sixth over the next two seasons before taking a brief hiatus from F1 to drive in the WRC and NASCAR before coming back in 2012.

His current salary with Alfa Romeo’s team is a significant cut to what he was bringing in during his first Ferrari stint, reportedly earing “only” US$5m per season.

We hope the cash they’re not paying their drivers can go into keeping the wheels attached to their cars.

Currently the richest F1 contract belongs to Lewis Hamilton who is bringing in a (meagre?) US$40m per year.

Lionel Messi – Football

At this point in his career, Barcelona should just hand Messi a blank cheque for what he has done for the Catalan club, but they still have to put a dollar value on his services.

With a ridiculous six Ballon d’Or awards to his name, ten La Liga titles, six Copa del Rey’s and four UEFA Champions League wins his deal is worth whatever it’s costing Barcelona.

Reports say his recent contract is worth around €565,000 per week with others saying he earns nearly US$80m per season just from his contract which runs until 2021.

If that wasn’t enough, he’s got a lifetime deal with Adidas to keep his bank account topped up.

When you’re earning that much, you can afford to rile up Real Madrid supporters at any opportunity.

Just think how much Pep Guardiola is going to pay him to come to Man City in a year!

Conor McDavid – NHL

Compared to some of the other sports around the world, hockey doesn’t quite bring in the big bucks, as evidenced by Conor McDavid being the highest earner in the NHL with his eight year, US$100m contract with the Edmonton Oilers.

Drafted with the first overall pick by the franchise in 2015 they locked him up after two seasons giving him the richest NHL contract of all time.

Best of all for the Canadian centre, his deal expires in 2026 when at age 28 he could be set to cash in once again.

Lance Franklin – AFL

Want to start an argument with an AFL fan?

Just ask them if Buddy’s 9 year, $10m deal with the Swans was worth it.

Injuries have prevented him from being fully effective over the last three seasons but he is still one of the more imposing figures in a forward line, winning his fourth Coleman Medal in 2017.

He is still yet to deliver the Swans a Premiership however but he’s still surpassing plenty of milestones with the Swans.

Daly Cherry-Evans – NRL

The NRL’s best paid player is earning around $1.3m per season with Manly on the eight year contract he signed with the club after back-flipping on the Titans.

That made him a pariah for quite a few years in the Sunshine State, but it was clearly worth it to become “a Sea Eagle for life” in his own words.

Even as one of the best in the NRL, he still has a few gaffes though.

It seems like they have forgiven him in Queensland too.

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