What's better than getting paid to do absolutely nothing? It's the dream.
Well, some athletes are living out that exact fantasy, sitting at home while the checks keep coming in.
Which Athletes Are Still Getting Paid After Retirement?
Everyone knows 'Bobby Bonilla Day' and the crazy payments Rick DiPietro still receives from his NHL days. But, there are plenty of other athletes getting paid after retirement across all sports. Here are the top five players still getting paid by their former teams:
5. Andrew Nicholson, Portland Trail Blazers ($2.8 mill/Year)
I'll say what we're all thinking: 'Who!?'
Nicholson played 285 games in the Association, averaging six points and three rebounds per contest. So, why in the world did the Washington Wizards sign the power forward to a four-year, $26 million deal in 2016?
Evidently it wasn't a great idea, as Nicholson was quickly traded to Brooklyn and then flipped to Portland, where his already low production fell off entirely. The Blazers waived him in 2017, agreeing to stretch his contract out over seven years. Nicholson will continue receiving $2.8 million annual checks through the 2023-24 season, even as he's balling out in the Chinese Basketball Association.
4. Manny Ramirez, Boston Red Sox ($1.99 mill/year)
In 2000, Ramirez inked a massive $160 million deal with the Red Sox. The deal included about $32 million in deferrals to be paid out after the slugger stopped playing. The payments started in 2011 and will run until 2026, when Ramirez will be 54. He gets about $2 million a year. Manny played his final MLB game in 2011, but he stuck around in pro baseball for a few more years, playing in Triple-A, the Dominican Winter League, the Japanese League, and the Australian Baseball League. This guy's just addicted to smashing baseballs and cashing checks.
Ramirez isn't the only one the Red Sox are indebted to, either. They've made a habit of these deferred payments, pushing back money on deals with Dustin Pedroia, David Price, and others.
Can someone explain to me how the ever-loving shit MANNY RAMIREZ is still making money from the Red Sox pic.twitter.com/Dlih5STXdk— Boston Diehards (@Boston_Diehards) March 25, 2020
3. Rick DiPietro, New York Islanders ($1.5 mill/Year)
In 2006, the Islanders decided Rick DiPietro was their guy, inking the tendy to a 15-year, $67.5 million contract. Seven years later and a few rough seasons later, the Islanders admitted their mistake.
After waiving and buying out DiPietro's contract in 2013, the Islanders agreed to pay him two-thirds of the remaining owed money in the form of $1.5 million payments for 16 years. DiPietro hasn't played in an NHL game since his release, but still collects a check every year until 2029.
2. Ken Griffey Jr., Cincinnati Reds ($3.5 mill/Year)
After 10 straight All-Star campaigns with the Mariners, Ken Griffey Jr. signed a mega-deal with the Reds in 2000, locking him up in Cinci for nine years. The deal was worth $112.5 million at the time, but also included deferred payments for 15 years after the deal (2009 to 2024).
In 2023, Griffey received a $3.5 million deferred payment from the Reds. That makes him the fourth-highest-paid player by Cincinnati this season (behind Joey Votto, Mike Moustakas, and Wil Myers) and he hasn't even played a game in 13 years.
Ken Griffey Jr. will earn more than $3.5 million this year from the Reds — making him the fourth highest-paid player on the Reds' payroll.— Boardroom (@boardroom) March 30, 2023
The interesting part?
He retired in 2010 and gets deferred payment through 2024. pic.twitter.com/H0Xi2pe162
1. Bobby Bonilla, New York Mets ($1.19 mill/Year)
The man, the myth, the namesake of Bobby Bonilla Day. This is the stuff of legends — the greatest retirement plan in sports history.
After the 1999 season, the New York Mets decided they would be releasing Bonilla, with $5.9 million left on his contract.
Instead of just paying out the six mill, Bonilla’s agent and the Mets came to an agreement on a deferred payment plan: 1.19 million per year, every year from 2011 to 2035 (that's $29.8 million for you non-math folks out there).
Now why would Mets owner Fred Wilpon agree to such an absurd deal? Well, Wilpon thought he had guaranteed 10% investment returns coming from his portfolio with one Mr. Bernie Madoff, outweighing the 8% interest he’d be paying on Bonilla’s contract. One Ponzi scheme and 15 years later, Bonilla still gets a fat payout from the Mets every July 1. Happy Bobby Bonilla Day!