NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — When it comes to overpaid athletes, you don’t have to look any farther than the Knicks and Yankees. Both are currently in the news for desperately trying to move a couple of high-priced, underperforming players.
Here’s a look at the top 5 overpaid athletes currently playing in New York. The salaries listed are their annual average pay based on their current contracts.
5. Muhammad Wilkerson, Jets, $17.2 million
Wilkerson is the perfect example of the professional athlete who checks out after finally scoring his big payday. Since the Jets awarded Wilkerson with a five-year, $86 million deal two offseasons ago, they’ve gotten a total of eight sacks out of the defensive end — and probably even more late appearances to practices and meetings. Fortunately for the Jets, it’s easier to move on from a bad contract in the NFL than it is the NBA or MLB, which is why Wilkerson is expected to be cut loose this offseason.
4. Jacoby Ellsbury, Yankees, $21.86 million
Ellsbury’s contract is so out of whack that Yankees general manager Brian Cashman is reportedly offering to pay a substantial chunk of his salary if another team would take the centerfielder off his hands — and he still hasn’t found any takers. Ellsbury is not a terrible player (.264 average, seven homers, 39 RBIs, 22 stolen bases last season), but he’s unpopular among Yankees fans because he hasn’t come close to living up to the seven-year, $153 million deal he signed before the 2014 season.
3. Timofey Mozgov, Nets, $16 million
The Nets knew Mozgov was overpaid when they traded for him, but it was a sacrifice they were willing to make in order to also acquire guard D’Angelo Russell, the second overall pick in the 2015 draft, from the Lakers. But Mozgov is even more useless than the Nets probably anticipated, only seeing the floor in about half their games this season. (And keep in mind, the Nets are a bad basketball team.)
2. Joakim Noah, Knicks, $18.14 million
There were plenty of red flags about Noah before Phil Jackson and the Knicks signed him to a four-year, $72.6 million deal in the summer of 2016. He was slowing down, he was declining on the defensive end, and he had recently undergone knee and shoulder surgeries. Now, after returning from a suspension for using a banned substance, Noah is on a forced sabbatical from the Knicks after reportedly getting into a heated verbal exchange with coach Jeff Hornacek. The Knicks would love to move on from him, but there’s no easy way out of this nightmare contract.
1. David Wright, Mets, $17.25 million
As bad as the Noah deal is, at least he’s available to play. Wright, meanwhile, has played in just 75 games over the past three seasons — and none last year — due to back, neck and shoulder injuries. His massive salary is holding back the frugal Mets — and they won’t be out from under this deal for three more seasons. The truth is the 35-year-old Wright should retire, but walking away from another $47 million guaranteed is much easier said than done.