Planning for your retirement is a challenging experience for many individuals. On top of your financial situation, there’s much more you have to be concerned about, including your health and your family, among other things. However, not everyone gets this kind of treatment. A number of former pro athletes are still being paid by their former teams well after they called it quits.
For one reason or another, these retired athletes still receive a paycheck or did for years after playing, even if they walked away from the game on their own terms or were forced out due to injury or other circumstances. It’s amazing to hear about a player being paid millions when they were injured so badly, it ended their career. It’s not like they were hurt during their NYC office job and had to deal with a New York City slip and fall case to help them receive financial relief. Some of them were still owed money on their contracts and continued to receive large salaries for years.
Here, we name some of these players and explain how their situations played out, including pros from Major League Baseball, the NHL, NBA and NFL.
For baseball enthusiasts, specifically New York Mets fans, July 1 is sort of an unofficial holiday. The MLB team sends Bobby Bonilla a check for $1.19 million every year on this day, which is recognized as Bobby Bonilla Day. This is despite the fact that he hasn’t played in the league since back in 2001 and hasn’t played with the Mets as far back as 1999.
Why is Bonilla still collecting a check every year? This is because the Mets chose to cut him for the 2000 MLB season and the $5.9 million they still owed him was put into an account generating 8% interest. Each year, he is sent a payment and will continue to receive this payment until 2035.
The New York Islanders felt they were getting a good deal for Rick DiPietro when they signed him to a lengthy contract. Despite the fact that his career was cut short due to injuries, he receives $1.5 million annually from the Islanders due to a contract buyout. This will continue until 2029.
NBA legend Tim Duncan had a lengthy career in the league, playing up until the age of 40 and earning himself countless accolades. However, when he finally chose to retire from the game in 2016, he had over $6 million due to him from his contract, reports NBC Sports. The San Antonio Spurs, where he played his entire career, paid him $1.8 million as recently as the 2018-19 season. That’s three more years of million dollar-plus even after walking away from basketball.
Jim Edmonds signed a two-year deal with the St. Louis Cardinals in 2006, and instead of choosing to be paid normally, he opted for $3 million to be distributed in installments from 2010 to 2019. Not a bad decision, as Edmonds would be paid $300,000 a year, which is triple the amount he made as a rookie, according to the Sporting News.
It’s not the highest payday on this list, but it’s a sizable salary to receive over a decade.
MLB star Prince Fielder had a long career, but it ended a little earlier due to neck injuries in 2016. Fortunately for him, he had $106 million left on his deal with the Texas Rangers, which means he will be paid handsomely for years during his retirement. According to CNN, he was expected to earn as much as $24 million annually until the year 2020.
Reports say that his former team, the Detroit Tigers, pay a portion of this, coming out to $6 million, while $9 million is covered by insurance and the Rangers are on the hook for the remaining $9 million.
Interestingly, Prince Fielder had more money remaining on his contract than his father Cecil Fielder had earned in his whole career.