Evaluating Sidney Crosby’s Risky New Contract With Penguins: 12 Years, $104.4 Million
Sidney Crosby agreed to a 12-year, 104.4 million dollar contract extension with the Pittsburgh Penguins, despite Crosby’s severe concussion issues, as he enters the final year of his current deal.
Sidney Crosby’s new contract extension won’t be official until free agency opens on July 1st, but all signs point to Crosby inking a lengthy new deal with the Pittsburgh Penguins. The Penguins appear to have signed the league’s most prolific scorer (when healthy) through the 2025-26 season, but Crosby’s injury history provides an interesting subtext to a historic contract extension.
Signing Crosby for the next 12 years certainly carries incredible risk as the captain missed extensive portions of the last two seasons recovering from severe concussion symptoms. That risk is magnified by the lingering nature of his head injuries. With a year remaining on Crosby’s current deal, the Pittsburgh Penguins were faced with a curious decision regarding the tenure of their young superstar. Pittsburgh could sign Sidney Crosby to the huge contract he has merited while on the ice as arguably the league’s best player when healthy, or risk losing the injury-riddled star at the end of next season. The contract insures Crosby will be a Penguin for years to come, but no one can guarantee any ice time with Sidney Crosby’s increased susceptibility to serious concussions in the future.
Sidney Crosby averages 1.4 points per game, tallying an impressive 223 goals in just 434 games. He is a dynamic presence and prolific scorer, whose unselfish play has resulted in a gargantuan 386 assists over that span. As a part of one of the league’s greatest offenses, particularly when both Evgeni Malkin and Crosby are healthy, those numbers will continue to climb as long as Crosby is on the ice. He’s a clutch scorer, Olympic hero, all-star, all-world center with a devastating injury tacked on to the tail end of his resume. Unfortunately, Crosby’s injury has come to define his career and, to some extent, all of hockey. Is Crosby worth a 12-year deal knowing that he is one blow to the head away from unthinkable disaster?
All the details are not yet known with this contract and it’s certainly possible that the Penguins leave themselves with a means of escape. Perhaps there is an injury clause or maybe Crosby’s concussion was so severe that the Penguins think he’ll simply retire if he suffers another one. Still, it’s a monstrous $8.7 million cap hit for the next 12 years if Crosby gets hurt and continues to try to play but cannot.
What I don’t understand about the deal is the timing. The Penguins have Sidney Crosby under contract for next season and did not need to rush into another deal with a player this fragile. They could have waited until mid-season to evaluate how Crosby holds up. If Crosby suffers another concussion during this season, the 12-year extension on a crippled superstar will be an epic mistake if he tries to continue with his career but is never the same player. The Pittsburgh Penguins protect themselves and ensure that Crosby won’t hit the free agency market where any number of teams might try to court him. Additionally, they may be getting a low price for Crosby because of his injury risk by signing him now instead of after 100 points and a clean bill of health.
No one can question the value Sidney Crosby brings to a franchise, but it’s easy to question the value of a player that’s participated in only 23 games since his injury stemming from the Winter Classic two years ago. It probably would have been better to wait and see with an injury of this magnitude.
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