Blockbusting Kiwi forward Jason Taumalolo yesterday signed the longest contract deal in NRL history - a 10-year contract with the North Queensland Cowboys.

It will keep the 24-year-old in Townsville until 2027.

The contract eclipses the previous longest deal in the NRL, an eight-year deal handed to Manly's Daly Cherry-Evans in 2015, and is the biggest in Australian sports beating the nine-year contract signed by AFL star Buddy Franklin with the Sydney Swans in 2013.

But are long term deals worth it? They certainly can be. The Cowboys are taking a punt at paying Taumalolo a rumoured AU$1m a year. Once the salary cap goes up, top players will be getting paid more than that so they could be getting Taumalolo at a bargain price compared to rivals in his position.


It's a huge punt that often doesn't come off.

Cameron McMillan looks at the longest sports contracts ever signed and whether the both the team and the player benefited.

15 years (from 2010 to 2025) - Ilya Kovalchuk (Ice hockey)

This is what happens when you try and get around the rules. In a way to get around salary cap restrictions, the New Jersey Devils offered the Russian left wing a whopping 17-year, US$102m deal which was rejected by the league. Eventually a 15-year, $100m contract was signed off but only three years into it, Kovalchuk retired from the NHL. The NHL also penalised the Devils for the initial 17-year offer as an attempt to 'circumvent the league's salary cap'. The franchise was fined US$3m and stripped of four picks in the NHL draft.

Is it worth it? No. The Devils did make the Stanley Cup finals in 2011, coming within two wins of the title but they haven't made the playoffs in the four seasons since.

14 years (2012-2026) - Shea Weber (Ice hockey)

The Predators were desperate to keep the highly-rated defender, first drafted by the side in 2005, although their hand was forced to sign him long-term when he was offered a 14-year US$110m deal by the Philadelphia Flyers. So to keep Weber, the Predators had to match the deal. Months later the rules were changed so that similar long term deals were not allowed.

Is it worth it? No. The Predators made the playoffs the last two years but failed to make it as far as the Stanley Cup finals. Weber was traded to the Montreal Canadiens last year for another defender P.K Subban, who is four years younger, with the Canadiens taking on the contract. As it stands the deal seems to have worked out best for Montreal with the side leading their division.

13 years (2015-2027) Giancarlo Stanton (Baseball)

It's the richest deal in American sports, US$325m over 13 years at an average of US$25m a year and US$154k a game. The three-time All Star signed the deal two years ago with a baseball side that hasn't been decent since the third year of George W Bush's presidency. Since winning the World Series in 2003 the Marlins haven't reached the playoffs and there's hope Stanton would help change that. They still finished 15 games back from doing so in his first season under the new deal. Stanton will be paid US$14.5m for the upcoming season and then between US$25-32m until 2027.

Is it worth it? Too early to tell. Stanton had 27 home runs and 74 RBIs last season, below his career best in 2014, with a pretty poor batting average of .240.

Giancarlo Stanton in action for USA at the World Baseball Classic. Photo / AP
Giancarlo Stanton in action for USA at the World Baseball Classic. Photo / AP

13 years (2008-2021) Alexander Ovechkin (Ice hockey)12 years (2013-2025) Sidney Crosby (Ice hockey)

There are rare players you would want to sign for life and these are two of them. Ovechkin signed a US$124m 13-year deal with the Washington Capitals in 2008 and almost nine years into the contract it seems well worth it. The same goes for Crosby who signed a 12-year with the Penguins in 2013 worth around US$104m.

Are they worth it? Yes. The two biggest names in the sport this decade. Of course these deals work. These guys sell tickets. Even if they drop in performance later in their careers, people will still want to see them play just to say they did. Ovechkin hasn't delivered a Stanley Cup to Washington but they've missed the playoffs just once since he signed the deal. Crosby led the Penguins to a title last year and won the MVP award in 2014. Since long-term deals were restricted to eight year after these deals were made it makes them even more valuable. When both these guys are playing their teams have a chance for a title - that's money well spent.

12 years (2002-2013) Donovan McNabb (American football)

The Philadelphia Eagles offered the quarterback a US$115m deal over 12 years before the 2002 season after he'd led the side to the playoffs the two previous seasons.

Was it worth it? Probably not. The Eagles got four decent years out of McNabb. He peaked two years into the deal and left the Eagles in 2009. The team did play in four NFC championship games and one Super Bowl but didn't win a title in the McNabb era.

There were three other quarterbacks playing at the same time that would certainly have paid off - Peyton Manning, Tom Brady and Drew Brees with all three still playing in 2013.

10 years (2008-2017) Alex Rodriguez (Baseball)

Not the longest deal on the list but one of the most lucrative. The Yankees agreed to a 10-year deal with A-Rod in 2008 worth US$275m, the second 10-year deal of his career. He was 32 at the time of the deal but was on pace to threaten the all time home run record.

Was it worth it? No. The Yankees won a championship in 2009 but A-Rod was past his peak during his time at the club. He never hit more than 35 home runs in a season, something he did nine of the 10 previous seasons. He missed the entire 2014 season due to a ban for taking performance enhancement drugs.

Was it worth it?