Christmas Comes Every July 1 for Bobby Bonilla

Bobby Bonilla last played from the New York Mets in 1999. Yet, he has been paid nearly $1.2 million a year since 2011 and this will continue until 2036 when Bonilla will be 72 years old.bonilla

Bonilla also has been receiving $500,000 a year since 2003, and this will run through 2028. The Mets pay a little more than half the $500,000 with the remainder being paid by the Baltimore Orioles.

How is this possible you ask?

Well, the roughly $1.2 million a year is a result of Bonilla being owed 5.9 million when the Mets bought out his contract before the 2000 season. The Mets agreed to pay Bonilla a deferred payment for 25 years starting in 2011 with an annual percentage rate of 8 percent. The $500,000 payment comes from Bonilla’s first time with the Mets from 1992-1995 that ended with him being traded to the Baltimore Orioles.

By the time the contract will be paid off in 2036, Bonilla would have collected $29.8 million not playing a single game during the 25 years.

To put this in perspective, Bonilla’s contract is nearly double that of current Mets’ star pitcher Matt Harvey who is making $614,125 this year.

Bonilla isn’t the first athlete to negotiate a contract that pays him long after he retires. When former NFL Hall of Fame running back Walter Payton negotiated his last contract in 1984, he put in an annual annuity of $240,000 for life to help pay for his mortgage. Now, I am not sure if the annual payments ended when Payton passed away in 1999, but this was still a smart contract.

It is no wonder many of us dream of becoming professional athletes. Not only would we get a chance to play a kid’s game for a living, but the money can set you up for life if negotiated properly.

I have a feeling we may be seeing more of these type of contracts especially by the agents of athletes who do a poor job of investing and/or saving.

And that’s as I see it!

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