Young Money in Professional Sports

Young Money in Professional Sports
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Young Money in Professional Sports

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Sports contracts not only appear to be getting larger in dollars – but earlier in careers. The recent extension of 22 year old Mike Trout with Los Angeles Angels marked a historic amount of money for a man barely able to order a beer. In lei of this, we’ll take a look at the earliest signing ages for big money extensions across the four major American sports.

MLB's Youngest Major Extensions

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USA TodayMike Trout is the youngest player to sign a $100M+ contract.

The "soft-cap" hasn't slowed teams from exponentially increasing maximum contract dollars year in and out, and now the money is trickling downward to the youth in baseball.

22 Years Old
Angels OF Mike Trout was recently given a $1 million "hold over" deal this year, while the two sides worked to complete a 6 year $144.5 million extension - all at the age of just 22. Trout becomes the 39th active MLB player with a current contract north of $100 million. But of the group - he's the youngest by more than two years.

24 Years Old
Albert Pujols was 24 when he signed his first big extension in St. Louis - a 7 year $100 million deal in 2004. Triple Crown winner Miguel Cabrera signed an 8 year $152.3 million deal in March of 2008 at just 24 years old - and has recently added 8 more years and $248 million to his services in Detroit. The Braves supplanted 24 year old Freddie Freeman as their 1B of the future with an 8 year $135 million contract.

25 Years Old
Alex Rodriguez was 25 when he signed his 10 year $252 million contract with the Texas Rangers in 2001. Clayton Kershaw was 25 when he penned a 7 year $215 million extension with the Dodgers this past January. Rockies SS Troy Tulowitzki was also 25 when agreeing to a 10 year $157.75M extension. The league's latest international pitching star Masahiro Tanaka comes to the Yankees as a 25 year old, earning $155 million over the next 7 years in New York.  

 

NBA's Youngest Major Extensions

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USA Today25 year old Kevin Durant has already earned $69.5M.

Only five NBA players possess a current contract of more than $100 million, three of which (as you may have guessed) play for the Miami Heat. The combination of the hard salary cap, and the formulaic rookie wage scale & extension structure keeps the "negotiation" process for the league's maximum contracts fairly arbitrary.

22 Years Old
The benefit of the college "one-and-done" came to fruition when Kevin Durant signed a 5 year $89 million maximum rookie extension with the Thunder at just 22 years old  - prior to his 4th NBA season.

23 Years Old
He's barely been on the court since, but Bulls PG Derrick Rose signed a 5 year $94.3 million maximum rookie extension at just 23 years old. Clippers PF Blake Griffin also signed his sophomore extension at just 23 years old - a 5 year $94.5 million deal.  

 

NFL's Youngest Major Extensions

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USA TodayCalvin Johnson broke the $100M mark at just 25 years of age.

Eight NFL players possess a current contract of more than $100 million, six of which belong to Quartberbacks - and all on the offensive side of the ball. The combination of the hard salary cap, and the formulaic rookie wage scale & extension structure keeps the "negotiation" process for the league's maximum contracts fairly arbitrary.

25 Years Old
Calvin Johnson was just 25 years old when he signed his 7 year $113.45 million extension with the Lions - one year younger and $450,000 more than colleague Larry Fitzgerald's extension.

26 Years Old
Cardinals WR Larry Fitzgerald was just 26 years old when he signed his 7 year $133 million extension, a deal he heavily restructured in 2014.

28 Years Old
Of the current $100 million quartberbacks in football, Ravens' Joe Flacco & Falcons' Matt Ryan were the youngest at the time of signing, penning 6 year $120.6 million and 5 year $103.75 million extensions respectively.  

 

NHL's Youngest Major Extensions

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USA TodayAlex Ovechkin was earning $9.5M per year at the age of 22.
Only three NHL players possess a current contract of more than $100 million, a figure that may increase as the team salary caps get marketedly bigger in the coming years.

22 Years Old
Alexander Ovechkin barely made it half way through his 3rd NHL season in Washington before signing a 13 year $124 million extension - still the largest in the NHL.

24 Years Old
The Penguins extended the next great one at the age of 24 - signing Sidney Crosby to a 12 year $104.4 million contract

26 Years Old
Shea Weber holds the only $100M+ deal among NHL defensemen, signing a 14 year $110 million extension with the Predators at the age of 26.



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