The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

Money speaking louder than talent in sports

By Chris Cates/sports editor

A million dollars is what it takes in today’s current cash pit of professional sports.

In a time when a single large contract can set the bar for the rest of the sport, money is apparently so abundant that multi-millions to relative unknowns is simply chump change.

Nate Clements, new signee of the San Francisco 49ers, is a talented corner. He can play ball. The three interceptions he contributed to the Buffalo Bills last season were nice. But an eight-year, $80 million contract?

With injuries and the always possible chance of being cut present, players want something guaranteed; thus, the signing bonus has become the new money-maker.

A signing bonus is, essentially, guaranteed, up-front money that is not part of the usual contract.

The Cowboys recently signed offensive lineman Leonard Davis to a seven-year, $49 million contract and gave him a $20 million signing bonus.

That $20 million for signing the contract is more than any Dallas Cowboy in the past, including the likes of Deion Sanders.

In Major League Baseball’s offseason, the Boston Red Sox paid more than $51 million for the right to negotiate with Japanese-import Daisuke Matsuzaka.

That is $51 million not included in his six-year, $52 million contract. This $103 million is committed to a pitcher who is relatively unknown.

Unknown middle relievers, who seem to alternate good and bad seasons, are being signed for millions across the league.

So much money is available that high-school stars skip college to enter the NBA draft and enjoy the contract that comes with it. Kids have been hiring agents, entering the draft and going un-drafted. They lose all college eligibility and miss out on the chance to play college ball.

The NBA finally got smart and changed the rule. Players can now play only one year in college before entering the draft.

Management nowadays signs 30-year-old players to five- and six-year contracts, knowing full well that the contract won’t be entirely paid because the player will opt out, retire or be cut before he’s 35 or 36 years old.

Contracts are full of incentives that can take money away for any number of reasons.

Seattle Seahawks running back Shaun Alexander was in line to make millions of dollars in bonus money if he led the league in rushing. In the last game of the season, he was one yard away from the lead. The Seahawks were at the two-yard line. Instead of running Alexander as they always had, the ball was given to the fullback three times in a row. Alexander missed out on his bonus. The organization said it was not done purposefully, but Alexander and many others believed otherwise.

Agents like Drew Rosenhaus play a large role in the money game, too, pressuring organizations to sign their clients by bringing up offers from other teams.

Many say that guys like Rosenhaus are hurting professional sports.

It is no coincidence that players in their “contract year” generally outperform what they have done in the past.

Money is a giant motivator.

Erick Dampier, for example, averaged 12.3 points and 11.9 rebounds per game, figures he didn’t come close to with the Golden State Warriors. That one season got Dampier a generous contract of $73 million over seven years.

Money in sports is becoming more prevalent, and fans are losing respect. Today, a single contract can change the entire landscape of a given sport. Unfortunately, money will always play an extraordinarily excessive role in sports, whether fans like it or not.

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