By Ryan Mayer
Yesterday, news broke that the Indianapolis Colts and quarterback Andrew Luck agreed to terms on a six-year, $140 million dollar extension.
Any average NFL fan heard those numbers and immediately asked the follow up question that is the most important in these scenarios: how much of that is guaranteed? Smart question, and in fact only $87 million, or 62 percent of the money in the contract is guaranteed.
Now, you may be saying, “But Ryan, Luck is young and by all accounts on the rise as a player, he’ll likely finish out that contract and get all of the money.” Yes, you’re correct. Luck will probably earn all of the $140 million this contract entails. That said, it still shows just how far behind NFL players are in terms of salary guarantees as opposed to their counterparts in other sports. The $87 million guarantee sets a record for the NFL in guaranteed money. Yet, in the three other major professional sports leagues there are numerous players who signed contracts valued above that $87 million dollars. Let’s take a trip shall we?
Note: we’ll be using the Spotrac Contract Value rankings for every sport.
NBA – 14 players
Damian Lillard, Anthony Davis, Carmelo Anthony, Chris Bosh, Kevin Love, Marc Gasol , Chris Paul, Blake Griffin, Kyrie Irving, Kawhi Leonard, Derek Rose, Jimmy Butler, Paul George, DeAndre Jordan
NHL – 5 players
Alex Ovechkin, Shea Weber, Sidney Crosby, Zach Parise, Ryan Suter
MLB – 50 players
Giancarlo Stanton, Alex Rodriguez, Miguel Cabrera, Albert Pujols, Robinson Cano, Joey Votto, David Price, Clayton Kershaw, Prince Fielder, Max Scherzer, Zack Greinke, CC Sabathia, Jason Heyward, Joe Mauer, Mark Teixeira, Stephen Strasburg, Felix Hernandez, Buster Posey, Justin Verlander, Chris Davis, Matt Kemp, Troy Tulowitzki, Masahiro Tanaka, Jon Lester, Adrian Gonzalez, Jacoby Ellsbury, Mike Trout, Cole Hamels, David Wright, Freddie Freeman, Justin Upton, Johnny Cueto, Shin-Soo Choo, Jayson Werth, Josh Hamilton, Ryan Howard, Elvis Andrus, Matt Holliday, Matt Cain, Jordan Zimmerman, Dustin Pedroia, Ryan Braun, Homer Bailey, Kyle Seager, Ryan Zimmerman, Adam Wainwright, Pablo Sandoval, Jeff Samardzija, Hunter Pence, Hanley Ramirez
Even if you count the full announced terms of Luck’s contract assuming he makes all $140 million of that deal, there’s still one NBA player (Damian Lillard) and 28 MLB players who will or have made more over the life of their contracts than Luck will make during his. Make of that what you will, but in terms of the guaranteed money, the NFL is the lowest paying for top-tier players of any of the four major sports.
Ryan Mayer is an Associate Producer for CBS Local Sports. Ryan lives in NY but comes from Philly and life as a Philly sports fan has made him cynical. Anywhere sports are being discussed, that’s where you’ll find him.