The last two decades in sports have yielded the largest athlete contracts ever. See which athletes signed to these mega-bucks deals and ponder the billion dollar question — are they worth it?
After the 2001 season, McNabb signed a 12-year contract with the Philadelphia Eagles, including a $20.5 million signing bonus. In 2004 McNabb led the Eagles to their second Super Bowl appearance, where they lost to this team. In 2010 McNabb was traded to the Washington Redskins for 2010 and 2011 draft picks. The contract: How much was it?
While the NHL doesn't dole out the same kind of cash that baseball does, this list has to include Ovechkin, who holds the largest NHL contract ever. In 2008 the Washington Capitals signed the now 25-year-old Russian left wing to a 13-year deal, which could keep him in Washington the better part of his career. The contract: How much was it?
Looking to rebuild and move out of the Reggie Miller years, the Indiana Pacers pinned their hopes on O'Neal back in 2003, signing their new franchise player to a seven-year deal. During the 2008 NBA draft, the Pacers traded O'Neal to the Toronto Raptors as part of a multiplayer, multipick trade. The contract: How much was it?
Vick was all set to be highest-paid NFL player in history when the Atlanta Falcons signed the star quarterback to a 10-year contract extension in 2005. That deal guaranteed Vick an NFL-record $37 million in bonuses. However, in 2007 Vick was suspended without pay hours after pleading guilty to charges stemming from a dogfighting investigation. Vick was also ordered to reimburse the Falcons (how much?) upon discovery that he had funded the illegal operation. In 2009 Vick was reinstated and signed a one-year deal with the Philadelphia Eagles. The contract: How much was it?
Alfonso Soriano -- after playing for three teams in nine years, including a notable run with the New York Yankees – signed an eight-year contract with the Chicago Cubs before the 2007 season. With Soriano, 35, the Cubs have won back-to-back division titles. The contract: How much was it?
In 2004, the Los Angeles Lakers kept the star (who had brought them three NBA championships) happy by signing him to a seven-year deal. Since then, Bryant, 32, and the Lakers have won another two championships – but were recently ousted by another Western Conference team (which one?) in the 2011 playoffs (see results and schedule). The contract: How much was it?
The Minnesota Twins traded Santana to the New York Mets in 2008, and as part of the deal, the Mets signed the money pitcher to one of the largest contracts awarded a hurler – a six-year contract extension. The contract: How much was it?
Carl Crawford, 29, was drafted by the Tampa Bay Rays in 1999, and since his 2002 MLB debut he has led the American League in stolen bases four times and led the Rays to the 2008 World Series. As a free agent after the 2010 season, Crawford (see photos) was signed by the Boston Red Sox to a seven-year contract. The contract: How much was it?
The Colorado Rockies joined the deep-pockets league in 2001 when they awarded Helton, now 37, a nine-year contract extension, then the fourth-largest contract in sports history. (See photos of him.) In 2007 the Rockies reached the World Series, where they lost to the Red Sox. The contract: How much was it?
In 2008 the Detroit Tigers joined the ranks of the big-spending Yankees and Red Sox when they locked up Cabrera to an eight-year contract. The deal would become the biggest contract ever given to a Detroit player. The contract: How much was it?
Former Formula 1 star Räikkönen, 31 (see photos), took over the role of highest-paid driver in his sport, replacing Michael Schumacher, 42, on the list with his contract with Ferrari from 2007 to 2009. It paid off as he won the 2007 Formula 1 title. The contract: How much was it?
Adrian Gonzalez, now 28, was traded for the third time in his career on Dec. 6, 2010, to the Boston Red Sox, who promptly signed the first baseman (see pictures) to a seven-year contract extension to keep him in Boston through 2018. The contract: How much was it?
Eager to hang onto their All-Star shortstop, in 2010 the Colorado Rockies signed Tulowitzki, 26, to an additional contract over seven seasons – a deal that means Colorado has guaranteed Tulowitzki (see pictures) a huge payout through 2020. The contract: How much was it?
Alonso, now 29, took Formula 1 salaries to new heights with his reported 2007-10 contract with McLaren that was to be worth millions. However, Alonso (see photos) spent only one season with the team – for a reported $39 million – before moving to another team (which one?). The contract: How much was it?
In Dan Duquette's biggest splash, the Boston Red Sox signed Manny Ramirez away from Cleveland to an eight-year deal worth millions, with an additional two years for $40 million more. Ramirez helped the Red Sox win the 2004 World Series, picking up a World Series MVP award as the Red Sox abolished the famed Curse of the Bambino (what's that again?) with a miraculous win over the Yankees in the ALCS after trailing 0-3. Ramirez also led them to a 2007 World Championship. The contract: How much was it?
In 2008 the Cleveland Indians traded the All-Star lefty, now age 30, to the Milwaukee Brewers, but that stint would be short-lived. In 2008, the New York Yankees picked up Sabathia and signed him to a seven-year deal that ended up being the highest contract awarded a pitcher. The contract: How much was it?
When it comes to shelling out large sums of cash, the New York Yankees seem to have a limitless bankroll. In 2008 they signed free-agent first baseman Mark Teixeira (find photos) to an eight-year deal. The contract: How much was it?
In March 2011, the Minnesota Twins put all their hopes – and a large chunk of change – in catcher Mauer (see pics). The 28-year-old Minnesota native signed an eight-year contract extension that became the largest ever for an MLB catcher. The contract: How much was it?
Before A-Rod came along, the New York Yankees invested dearly in their beloved shortstop (see photos of him). In February 2001, Jeter, now 36, signed the then-richest contract in Yankees history. The contract: How much was it?
In 2000 Rodriguez signed a 10-year, $252 million deal with the Texas Rangers, the largest contract in sports history. A-Rod, now 35, opted out of his Rangers contract in 2004 to sign with the New York Yankees, who in 2007 signed the third baseman (see photos) to an even larger deal. The contract: How much was it?