Bryce Harper signed an NFL record $330 million 13-year deal with the Philadelphia Phillies after being pursued throughout the winter by numerous Major League Baseball (MLB) franchises. There were a number of offers on the table for the outfielder, but he chose the Phillies over other options.
The Los Angeles Dodgers and the New York Giants were among his main pursuers, with both teams making lucrative offers in the final weeks leading up to his agreement with the Phillies. The former is said to have offered him an annual average salary of $45 million in a short-term deal, while the latter offered him a long-term contract worth $300 million.
Harper’s former team, the Washington Nationals, were also keen to re-sign the right-fielder and made him a 10-year offer worth $300 million in October before he entered free agency. But their offer was turned down by the six-time All-Star with the reason being that $100 million of the deal was in deferred until the outfielder was 65-years-old.
“I grew up in front of those fans and that city, and I enjoyed every minute of it,” Harper told ESPN. “But I didn’t know if I fit into their plans. About $100 million of that contract was deferred ’til I was 65 years old. It’s like, ‘What does that do for me? What does that do for my family?'”
The wages on offer did play a big role in Harper’s decision – but another factor was that he was only looking for a long-term deal. The Dodgers’ offer would have seen him become the highest paid player in terms of annual wages in the history of the MLB, but he turned them down as he had no intention of entering free agency again.
Harper admitted that constant speculation about his future even when he was with the Nationals was something that annoyed him. The outfielder’s 13-year deal with the Phillies has no opt-out clauses and a full no-trade clause, which means that he will play at the Citizens Bank Park until he is 39-years-old without any speculation about his future.
“During the seven years I spent in DC, all everybody talked about was me going somewhere else,” Harper said during his first extensive interview since signing with the Phillies. “From the day I signed, it was: ‘He’s going to the Yankees’; ‘He’s going to the Dodgers’; ‘He’s going to the Cubs.’ I didn’t want to hear that. I was in that city, and I wanted to be in that city.”
“So now I’m just so happy that I’m able to sit here right now and say I can play until I’m 39 years old and I don’t have someone sitting around the corner saying, ‘He’s going to go here next.'”