What are Salaries in Football?
A salary in football is the amount of money a player is set to make in a year based on their contract. That amount is based on a variety of factors, including: position, age and tenure, salary caps, and TV Deals.
Pay by Position
Certain positions in football are paid more than others. Positions with high importance and low replaceability such as the quarterback (5.1 million per year) and the left tackle (8.3 million) make more than those who don't. Full backs (978k) and long snappers (786k) make the least of all positions.
Age and Tenure
A player's age and how long they have played in the league also impacts the salary they will receive. Each year played in the league increases the minimum salary one can receive. The chart below depicts the minimum salaries in the NFL based on career seasons played.
Rookies enter the league and sign a contract with a minimum per year value of 480 thousand dollars.
That number increases each year, up until the tenth season played where the minimum value caps at just over one million dollars.
Guaranteed money is an important part of the structuring of player's contracts. Just as it sounds, guaranteed money is an agreed upon percentage of the salary that is guaranteed to the player even if they were to get hurt and miss the whole season.
Teams can put bonuses on top of a player's salary to incentivize certain things.
To sweeten the pot for a player about to sign a contract, a team may add on a bonus amount to the salary just for the player to sign with the team.
Some teams want a player to slim down or get in better shape. They can accomplish this by offering a bonus that a player can claim if they drop their weight to a set amount.
Finally, teams in order to get the best performance for their money will set milestones for players that if reached will give them a bonus. Examples of performance bonuses are having a wide receiver reach 1000 yards or a quarterback throw thirty touchdowns.
Teams may also place a franchise tag on a player in order to keep them on the team. What this means is that they agree to pay a player either a salary equaling the average of the five highest paid at that position or 120% of their previous contract.
To maintain a fair and balanced league, the league establishes a ceiling for how much each team may spend on its players every year. That number increases every season.
Per Year Pay Structure
The enormous average salaries of NFL players and increase of salary cap every year is due to the TV contracts signed by the league. The money made from TV companies is what pays the player's salaries.