In the new golden age of Denver esports, Nathan McKinnon, Russell Wilson, and Nikola Jokic lead the gold rush.
We will remember 2022 as the year the Big Three broke the bank.
With MacKinnon signing a contract extension with Avalanche making him the highest-paid player in the NHL, he joins Wilson and Jokic with massive new offers worth over $600 million combined.
Three of the superstars who made Avs, Broncos, and Nuggets worth watching now deserve more than a small country. And this is no exaggeration: $600 million is more than the GNP of Dominica, a beautiful little island in the Caribbean.
Here’s the stunning economic collapse of contract extensions, all signed since June, on a summer spending spree we’ve never seen before in this dusty old town:
Jokic: $270 million for five years.
Wilson: $245 million for five years.
McKinnon: $100.8 million, for eight years.
Then there’s quarterback Chris Bryant, who isn’t worth a dime, but was signed by the Rockies for $182 million over seven years. Stupid as stupid as he does.
At first glance, it looks like McKinnon may have picked the wrong sport. His average annual salary of $12.6 million when the new deal is executed dwindles to $46 million a year from Wilson and Jokic’s mind-boggling $54 million will be paid out.
But do you want to know the ultimate truth about all those big bucks?
Cha Cheng means nothing if you don’t get this ring.
While McKinnon would earn a fraction of the other two’s money, he’s got the best deal in town.
He raised the Stanley Cup before he got paid. The terms of his new contract will give MacK a chance to build a dynasty with Avs between now and 2031, when he will be 36 years old.
“Really cool,” McKinnon said Tuesday at a press conference on the eve of the NHL Defending Champions training camp. There was no doubt that he would get a lot of money. But the real big deal? Mack will almost certainly spend the rest of his NHL career chasing the trophy for Colorado glory.
Do I need to remind you that the Nuggets have never won an NBA championship?
While Jokic will do his best to write the most amazing chapter in the team’s history, the pro basketball scene suggests it’s a long shot at any time before 2028, when I suspect the Joker will be tempted to return to Serbia and ride one of his beloved horses into the sunset after his deal expires.
With Broncos Country fans growing increasingly anxious, general manager George Patton boldly made a winning deal with Seattle for Wilson, then made an even bolder bet to push the 33-year-old quarterback like an elite player the Seahawks no longer believe. .
Although it’s too early to make any definitive verdict, if the small sample size of two Denver uniforms is any indication, Wilson appears to be a welcome upgrade over Teddy Bridgewater and other forgotten QBs who have passed through town in recent years. But an eye test also suggests that Patton has made an expensive leap of faith in the hope that Wilson can put Denver on a par with Patrick Mahomes or Justin Herbert in West Asia.
While $100 million can buy an athlete a great big house anywhere in this great big world, $800,000 in small change is what makes the MacKinnon deal so much fun.
Small financial details of his contract allowed McKinnon to become the highest-paid player in the NHL, barely exceeding the $12.5 million annually earned by Edmonton center Conor McDavid.
Here’s the interesting part: Instead of drastically resetting the market, McKinnon chose to take less money than he could have asked, in order to give himself the best chance of winning the Stanley Cup over and over with defender Cal Makar and the boys in burgundy and blue jackets..
“We don’t just plan to win,” McKinnon said.
“Nathan is clearly one of the best players in the NHL, so a long-term extension was something we wanted to do before the season started,” Avs general manager Chris MacFarland said in a team statement. “He has that rare combination of speed and power with a highly competitive level that makes him a player from generation to generation.”
In another year, Toronto center Auston Matthews is almost certain to receive the honor of being NHL Player of the Year from MacKinnon.
And MacK won’t care about a single red cent.
He’s chasing a much higher goal, signing a life contract with Colorado that gives him a real chance to overtake Joe Sakic and Patrick Roy as the greatest player in avalanche history.