NFL Salaries - No Two Football Positions Rank Equal
It All Comes At a Price
There is nothing like a good National Football League ballgame. The roar of the fans, the intensity of the coaches, the banter of the announcers and the show that the football players put on.
All of this comes at a price of course. Every Sunday sees millions of dollars poured into each football game. The figures are staggering.
A big chunk of the money goes toward player salaries. It is easy to forget as you are sitting there with your $20's in hot dogs and beer that the 22 guys crashing into one another are each earning six and seven figure salaries a year.
I did some research on average salaries and hope that you find it useful. I can't say I've come up with any grand revelations, but I put some comments below and hope you enjoy the article. Feel free to comment.
No Two Positions Are Equal
In professional football, different demands are placed on each position. Some positions, such as quarterback, are considered more cerebral, while others such as down-lineman are considered more workman-like.
Some positions require blazing speed, cornerback comes to mind, while others such as kicker and punter, require a considerable leg.
There is no doubt that Quarterback is considered the most important position on the field. The loss of a quarterback can mean the loss of the entire season. But what about the other positions? Which positions in NFL football are the most difficult? Which are the least difficult?
Think of this for a minute. Come up with your own thoughts on toughest to easiest position. Then let's look at the salaries of each position and see how they compare.
NFL Average Salary of All Postions
I did some research on the NFL average salary by position. The average salary across all positions is about $1,191,510 a year. That is, the mean salary for an NFL player across all positions for 2010 is about $1,191,510.
$1,191,510 per year is a lot of money but this figure can go up or down considerably depending on which football position you are playing.
Salary by Position
Here are the average yearly salaries across the National Football League for all positions.
Rank - Position - Yearly Wages
1. Quarterback 1,970,982
2. Defensiv End 1,583,784
3. Offensive Line 1,267,402
4. Defensive Tackle 1,223,925
5. Cornerback 1,193,666
6. Linebacker 1,175,788
7. Wide Receiveer 1,054,437
8. Running Back 957,360
9. Safety 947,847
10. Punter / Kicker 868,005
11. Tight End 863,414
The Data is Skewed A Bit
The first thing that came to my mind was the incredible amount of money the players are making. The second thing that came to my mind, in a paradoxical way, how low the salaries are compared to my expectations.
My guess is that since the big, big pro football salaries make the headlines and the smaller salaries do not, I was already biased into believing most pro football players truly make 'millions and millions' per year.
Ladianian Tomlinson makes roughly $7,100,000 per year as the top paid running back, yet the yearly average salary at running back is a $957,360. The minimum salary of a NFL player in 2010 with no credited years in the league (year zero so-to-speak) is $320,000 per year. If the player has one credited year, he will earn a minimum of $395,000 per year in the National Football League. If you break it down, you can see the data is skewed a bit.
Let's stick with the running back example. The average salary earned at RB is 2-3 times more than the rookie league minimum, however the average average salary earned at RB is 7 (!) times less than the top paid running back. Clearly there are players earning the 'millions and millions' per year, but strictly looking at the data, there are plenty of others making far less and keeping the average down.
Offense vs Defense
I remember years ago former Eagles head coach Buddy Ryan making the claim that offenses sell tickets and defenses win championships.
Is this true? Well, looking at the data, it would appear the guy writing the paychecks thinks it is true.
There is no doubt that the Quarterback is considered the essential, paramount, position in the game. Your season is virtually decided largely in part to the effectiveness and the health of your quarterback. The quarterback is clearly ranked number one in the average salary study.
A lot of money is invested in the quarterback (ranked #1 in salary average) and the guys how are paid to protect him (the offensive line is ranked #2 in salary average). If you take the quarterback out of the equation though, clearly NFL general managers and owners favor the defense.
With the quarterback figures removed, the average salary of offensive players across the board comes down to roughly $1,002,124 per year versus the defense $1,225,002 per year. Essentially, defensive players are earning 20 - 25% more per year than the offense.
Did the Salary Rankings Surprise You? - Defense
After I digested the average National Football League salary by position, the only position on defense that surprised me was how low linebacker ranked. Typically a lot is asked at the linebacker position and often the linebacker is called upon to be the 'quarterback' of the defense.
Linebackers are the stuff of legends. A guy named Dick Butkus comes to mind.
With that in mind, I think all of the statistics on defense fell into place well. What did you think?
NFL Paycheck Poll
Which Should be Paid Better.... Offense or Defense?
Did the Salary Rankings Surprise You ? - Offense
Were you surprised by the ranking of the offensive salaries? Quarterback ranks high, (#1) and the guys on the offensive line paid to protect the quarterback ranks high (#3). I suppose this did not surprise me.
The overall ranking of the offense did open my eyes. Setting quarterback aside, by position, the offense gets beat up by the defense when it comes to average salary. Defense is the mantra in the NFL though, so in hindsight, this is no surprise either.
Did running back surprise anyone? The running back ranks very low (#8). I have heard it considered to be one of easier positions to learn in the offensive system and one of the most inconsistent to draft (ie great running backs in college do not always make the cut in the NFL).
That said, he running back tends to have one of the shortest 'career life expectancy' in the National Football League. Simply put they don't last long. I would think their short career would put a premium on their salaries. For comparison the lowly #9 ranked defensive safety has one of the longest career life expectancies in the NFL which probably explains their lower yearly salary. More years = more money. The running back does not last long. Then again, maybe this makes them more expendable.
The rest of the offense salary rankings looked logical to me.
What did you think?
Smallest Amount NFL Player Can Be Paid
- What is the Minimum Salary In National Football League - Learn Here
Lowest amount a player can be paid. Please lick above article link to learn more.
I hope you found this article interesting. As I mentioned before, I can't claim any sort magical insight into the workings of NFL paychecks. This article was fun to write and I didn't put any demands on estabilishing some profound statistical vision beyond gathering the data, ranking it, pointing out some observations and commenting.
If you have anything to add. Feel free to comment. Thanks for reading!
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Like football, professional baseball players in the major leagues are paid extraordinarily well. These guys make some big bucks. Not all positions make the same money in pro baseball either. Some positions are paid, on average, millions of dollars more a year than other positions. It might surprise you which ones they are.
I wrote an article that details how much each position gets paid and how that relates to their batting statistics. Check out my post. I linked it below.
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You may never draw a salary quite as large as NFL players draw. These guys make boat loads of money playing professional football and the league gives them some great uniforms too.
If you are like the rest of us, you have to buy your own team jerseys. If you are a woman and love your NFL team, there are definitely some great shirts out there at prices where you don't have to make the kind of money a pro football players makes to afford it.
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Thanks again for checking out my National Football league salary post. I appreciate it!
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