12 Athletes Who Turned Down Mega Contracts and Missed Out on Millions

These guys are still kicking themselves for not signing these lucrative contracts.

Nerlens Noel Mavs 2017
USA Today Sports

Dallas Mavericks center Nerlens Noel (3) during the game against the San Antonio Spurs at the American Airlines Center. The Spurs defeat the Mavericks 97-91.

Nerlens Noel Mavs 2017

Imagine being in a position to decline nine figures.

Declining such an offer defies logic, but sometimes, it proves to be the right move. Plenty of professional athletes are put in that position every year, and some of them actually say no. Max Scherzer did it in 2014 when he declined a $144 million extension from the Tigers and decided to bet on himself and go for a bigger contract in free agency. He ended up cashing in big time when he signed a $210 million contract with the Nationals. Scherzer’s $144 million bet came with a payout of almost $70 million.

But not everyone is as lucky as Scherzer. Sometimes, declining an eight or nine-figure deal is as illogical as it sounds on the surface, and there are plenty of athletes who can attest to that over the years. Big paydays often come up only once in an athlete’s career, and passing them up doesn’t usually come with second chances.

Many guys on this list didn’t get second chances to recoup the big paydays they passed up. Let’s take a look at 12 players who foolishly declined multi-year, multi-million dollar extensions.

Jason Pierre-Paul

William Hauser

Vladimir Radmanovic

Vladimir Radmanovic.

John Amaechi

John Amaechi.

Latrell Sprewell

Latrell Sprewell James Dolan Knicks Spurs 2018

Terrelle Pryor

Terrelle Pryor Washington Tampa 2017

Tim Lincecum

Tim Lincecum Giants 2015 Getty

Joe Smith

Joe Smith.

Ian Desmond

Ian Desmond Nationals 2015 Getty

Bonzi Wells

Bonzi Wells Big 3 2017 Getty

Neil Walker

Neil Walker Mets Cubs 2017

Nerlens Noel

Nerlens Noel Mavs 2017

Juan Gonzalez

Juan Gonzalez Tigers 2000 Getty

Latest in Sports