Old National Presents: Wealthy Boilermakers

Alan Karpick, Publisher
Gold and Black
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USA Today Sports

Kawann Short's amazing new $80 million, 5-year contract got us thinking. Where does it rank among the annals of best contracts earned by Boilermaker pros.

The answer is, it depends on how you look at it.

Based on our research, and to no one's surprise, Drew Brees 2012 contract is tops on a per-year basis, averaging a cool $20 million over a five-year period. But in terms of overall contract size, Glenn Robinson's $68 million, 10-year deal is the biggest, and also remains one for the history books as well. The Big Dog's haul as the overall No. 1 pick of the 1994 draft remains the richest NBA rookie contract of all time.

Yet, Robinson's annual hole averaged out to "only" $6.8 million per year, which would make it ninth on our list. Brad Miller, who wasn't even drafted after finishing his Boilermaker eligibility in 1998, signed a $68 million, seven-year contract in 2003, averaging to $9.7 million per year.

Short's recent deal makes him second only to Brees in terms of dollars per season, averaging $16 per year. Ryan Kerrigan ($11.5) and Anthony Spencer ($10.6) are the only others to reach double-figures on an annual basis.

When you take into account inflation, it is clear that contracts have ballooned in recent years. Hall of Famer Rod Woodson, for example, signed his biggest contract in 1993 at $3 million per year, adjusted to $5.1 million in 2017 dollars.

In all, and based on the best numbers we could find, 26 Boilermaker football and basketball players, dating back to quarterback Jim Everett in 1990, have signed contracts valued at $9 million or more. Here is the list:


Note: Michael Wood, a junior in Purdue's Krannert School, did the research for his story.

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