The Penguins announced Thursday that Sidney Crosby will end his career wearing a Penguins sweater. The extension, which will be finalized on July 1, is for 12 years and $114.4 million. The annual cap hit will remain $8.7 million.
In a world where athletes and superstars command as much as possible from possible suitors, Crosby's new extension is incredible. It is incredible because Crosby could easily receive over $10 million on the open market. Teams like Toronto and Montreal would empty their bank accounts in attempts to sign the young phenom. Crosby could have also held the Penguins hostage and demanded a huge raise. He does kind of deserve it. He's the most marketable player in the league, he brings the teams millions in sales and marketing, and he's pretty good at hockey, too.
Instead, Crosby did not take a raise. Yes, they deal may be frontloaded in one way or another, but the cap hit remains the same. Now the Penguins have the opportunity to take a run at high-profile free agents (I'm looking at you, Ryan Suter and Zach Parise) as well as the wiggle room to sign Evgeni Malkin to a long-term contract when his current deal is up for renewal in a few years.
Rather than trying to cash in on his last professional contract, Crosby showed the NHL, and athletes everywhere, that sometimes its not always about the money you can make. Sometimes its about making your team better. Penguins fans everywhere should thank Sidney Crosby, because he didn't have to be so generous. He'll be a Penguin for life.
Start building that statue now, Pittsburgh.