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How much NFL players make?

Making Money In The NFL

Darrin Chiaverini (Football Coach and Professional Athlete) gives expert video advice on: How much NFL players make?; Is an NFL player's contract guaranteed?; What happens to players who are cut from an NFL team? and more...

How much NFL players make?

It depends on which player we're talking about. If we're talking about someone like Tom Brady, it's probably close to 8 or 9 million a year. If we're talking about a rookie that just got in, we're talking about 3 to 4 hundred thousand dollars a year. So depending on the player and the players status within the league, it can range from a couple of hundred thousand to well over 8 or 9 million dollars a year. Say if a player makes 4 million dollars a year, 38 percent of that right away goes to taxes you got to pay Uncle Sam right away. And then another 4 percent goes to your agent fees which on 4 million dollars is probably I don't know about 40 thousand dollars in agent fees. And then you also got to pay union dues, which are 10 thousand dollars a year. And then you also have your living expenses. Everybody sees the 4 million dollars a year, but right away that gets cut down to 2.2 million dollars a year with your taxes, and then your agent fees, your union dues, your living expenses. So when people say well how did they blow that money, believe me it goes faster than people think, so don't get caught up in the numbers to much.

Is an NFL player's contract guaranteed?

No, it's not guaranteed, but as you're seeing more and more with the NFL - if you ever notice when players are signing contracts, it will say $28 million contract with 15 million guaranteed. So the guarantees are going up as far as how much guaranteed money is in your contract. And the reason being is that - if you notice the other major sports like baseball, basketball - they all have guaranteed contracts. And football is the toughest sport. And we're putting our bodies on the line every day. So we need to have some more guarantees in our contract. So, there's not guaranteed contracts as far as the whole contract goes, but they're starting to see more and more money within the contract.

What happens to players who are cut from an NFL team?

People who are cut from an NFL team get real jobs. Like me. You start coaching or you go into the real world and start trying to make a living. There is no mile league system. It's not like baseball where you get sent down to the minors or get sent down on assignment. If you are not in the big show, then you are not playing. So you can go play different forms of football. You can go play in the CFL, or you can go play arena football or other leagues like that. But you also get paid, so it is not like you are in the minor leagues. But it is not like baseball where they are going to try and see if you are going to get better, or try to get your form back. If you do not make the team, you are done. You have got to start working.

Does an NFL player who gets cut still get paid if he's injured?

Depends on what kind of injury it is. If your hurt in the preseason, depends on what kind of injury, if you tear your ACL or if you have a season long injury then yes, you will be placed on injured reserve and will be compensated for that year. If you pull your hamstring or a six to eight week injury, you'll get cut but they will compensate you and they will pay you for six to eight weeks, so it kind of works out two different ways.

What should an NFL player look for in an agent?

This depends on the person, the player in general. I mean he's got to have a good relationship, a good working relationship with that agent but also a guy that has some clients that maybe he can see his track record has spoken volumes - he's done a good job for those players. Or word of mouth, if he's a young agent, someone that you trust and think is going to be a go getter for you and do what he says he's going to do for you. So I don't think there is any exact science to picking an agent. I think it's just a matter of the player feeling comfortable with that agent and believing that he's going to do the best job that he can for him.

How does an NFL player get an endorsement deal?

Usually the endorsement deal comes to the NFL player. If you're a good player like Peyton Manning, or Reggie Bush, they're going to start--they're going to target you right after your college eligibility's up. So, when you're at the draft, they're already trying to get you to sign a big endorsement deal with Reebok, or Nike, or Adidas, or whoever else. And, if you're not a big name coming out of college, when you're in the NFL, if you start playing very well, and making plays, and doing things on a consistent basis, you're definitely going to get some endorsement deals. So the endorsement deals will come to you, as long as you keep making plays.

Which players are paid the most, NFL, NBA or Major League Baseball?

Player by player basis it's the NBA. They make the most money and they only have 23 people on their roster. I think it might be less, I guess 20. And on a player to player basis the NBA gets paid the most money per player. Now you see big contracts in Major League Baseball like Alex Rodriguez who just signed a 300 something million dollar contract which is unbelievable. And that's all guaranteed money. And so I think out of those major sports, baseball, basketball and NFL, NFL is the lower paid sport.

Is the players' union important to an NFL player?

It is very important as far as if you are a player and you get hurt and you get cut from a team and you need to file a grievance. You call the players' union and you say hey I was cut from a team and they did not pay me so you have got to file a grievance against the league, against the team. If you have any problems as far as with money or with something going on with the team, you call your union. They work for you. We are all part of the players' union. So they are definitely an important part of helping us get our salaries, get our insurance, all that stuff in order. The players' union is only getting stronger every year.