Steve Young just might have the smartest contract of all time. USA Today reports that the former San Francisco 49ers quarterback, who played in his last game for the team in 1999, will rake in $1 million in 2014. That is over $150,000 more than current starting quarterback Colin Kaepernick will earn this season.
The enormous contract was the result of a bidding war between the Los Angeles Express owner J. William Oldenburg, Donald Trump, who was the owner of the New Jersey Generals at the time and the NFL. In the end Young signed a $40 million deal with the Los Angeles Express but the last $36 million would be dispersed over more than 40 years.
Celebrity Networth explains the deal in further details.
In 1984, Young rejected the NFL draft and instead accepted a record setting $40 million contract with the USFL’s Los Angeles Express. The contract was extraordinary for two main reasons: First, it was the largest sports contract ever awarded in history up to that point, equal to more than $90 million today after adjusting for inflation. And second, it wasn’t a standard contract that paid a set amount over four or five years. To help the fledgling team and league survive, Steve agreed to accept his payment in the form of an annuity that would be spread out over 40 years. That means, despite the fact that the USFL went bankrupt long ago, today Steve Young is still earning millions of dollars every year off a contract he signed 30 years ago with a team that no longer exists.
If there were more contracts like Steve Young’s, we would see a drastic decrease in the number of athletes going broke or filing for bankruptcy. Too much money at once can be a bad thing.