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Message To All Pro Athletes, "Go Get Yo' Money!"

While having a breakfast conversation one morning with a few of my co-workers and a couple of clients, we discussed the recent chain of events that's going on in San Francisco and their 1st-round draft pick, Michael Crabtree.

If you're not aware, Crabtree is potentially threatening to holdout from signing a deal that the 49ers put on the table because he doesn't think its fair-market value. He sees what Darius Heyward-Bey just got ($38 Million) and yet knows that he was the more highly rated wide receiver coming into the draft. Negotiations are at a standstill and Crabtree's posing the question that he might just not play and wait till 2010. (Which would be nucking futs.)

So the sentiment from my coworkers and clients are that he needs to shut up, sign the contract, and just play. Which for any hard-working, middle-class, family-oriented person who is struggling just to make ends meet, pay bills, and worrying that his job will be cut due to the struggling economy this makes a ton of sense. You are about to make millions of dollars and live a life that 99% of the world would love to live.

However, lets understand one thing about playing a pro sport, especially playing in the NFL. If you've heard the statistic, you would know that the average tenure in the NFL is about 3 seasons. You also know that you will leave the NFL more banged up health wise than when you came in. (Just read a story about WR/KR Dexter Jackson from Tampa Bay saying that he had to stop returning kicks because he wasn't used to getting hit that hard, that many times in a given game.) The NFL is a rough game, and just like freshman classes in college, it will chew you up and spit you out. Go ask Tim Couch, Napoleon Kaufmann, or Ryan Leaf.

Plus, understand this, if you're Crabtree, and you got Patrick Willis, Frank Gore, Issac Bruce, and other high-paid players on the squad, they are trying to keep up with the status quo. Now, I'm not saying that this excuses athletes from being fiscally responsible with their income, but when you see Frank pull up in his custom Mercedes Maybach Benz with the custom leather seats with "FG21" in the headrest talking about, "I'm gonna be in DUB Magazine with this one", Crabtree's gonna say, "I gotta get me one of those." LOL...

A sad fact I read recently was that at least 50-60% of pro athletes live paycheck to paycheck. Like, I know right now, I live paycheck to paycheck and I make good money, and when I move into my new place next week (who wants to help me move) I know that I'll get my savings back up and be cool. However, my salary (not ya business lol) is like one-quarter of a game check that Crabtree might get. So, its tough to consider feeling remorseful for the man's situation. So lets look at it another way.

Darius Heyward-Bey signed a contract for $38 Million ($23M guaranteed) over 5 years.

Immediately cut that in half for taxes (about 45-48%). $20 Million remaining.

Give $1-2 Million of that to your agent. $18 Million remaining.

He's in the bay area, so he's going to buy at least 2 houses (probably about $750K per house. Get one for mama, one for him), 2-3 cars ($25K one for mama, $80-100K, two for him), and at least $100,000 to furnish the houses (that's probably a low number), plus let's say $50,000 just to get his wardrobe right. That's another $2 Million right there. $16 Million remaining.

If he's got a girlfriend, take away another $1 Million. If he's got a wife, take away $2 Million. Plus groupies and old-flames he was busting down in high school and college, so that's another $250-500K. So we'll settle on $1.5 Million. So that's $14.5 Million remaining.

We haven't even talked about ANY extended family, or the entourage of homies. That's another $1 Million. $13.5 Million remaining.

Keeping lawyers, attorneys, and consultants on deck for all legal purposes, that's $500K. $13 Million remaining.

So the man went from signing a $38M deal over 5 years, roughly a little of $7M/year, to now an actual number of about $13M over 5 years, or roughly about $2.5M/year.

He ain't bought any groceries, bought flat screens for the bathroom, hired the personal chef and cleaning crew, flew on any vacations, child support, insurance, utilities, went and made it rain at any strip clubs, get a connect to the weed man, did Vegas, or anything like that yet. And we all know that they WILL do a majority if not all this stuff plus more.

So live the life, and get the money to afford it. Because living paycheck to paycheck sucks, be smart and get that money.


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