FAQ: How Much Do NFL Players Earn During a Season?

A career as a professional athlete in the National Football League (NFL) often comes with the opportunity to earn additional incentives such as a lucrative paycheck and bonuses. The total salary that an NFL player makes during a season can vary based on several factors, such as their performance. If you are willing to work hard and have a passion for playing football professionally, then you would like to know how much you can earn as an NFL player. In this article, we explain how much money NFL players make during a season and answer frequently asked questions about their salaries.

related: 15 highest paying jobs in sports

How much do NFL players earn?

NFL players’ salaries vary widely based on their position, experience, and performance during a season. For example, some quarterbacks, who are among the highest-paid players on many NFL teams, can earn millions of dollars each season, while other players earn much less. However, a new Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) which recently came into force, which sets the minimum wage amount at $660,000 for players with less than one year of experience. For players with more than one year of experience, the minimum wage is $780,000, and players with more than seven years of experience earn at least $1.075 million.

NFL teams pay their players each week during the 17-week season. A player’s salary usually includes conditions that may affect their pay, such as whether they miss a game because of an injury. Many players who perform well during a season also receive bonuses, increasing their overall compensation.

related: 25 Jobs in Professional Sports

What Affects an NFL Player’s Earnings?

Each of the 32 teams in the NFL has a salary limit, which limits the total amount that teams can pay to their players. Teams determine how much to pay each player while staying within the salary range. The salary range for teams fluctuates from year to year because it is based on league revenue.

In addition to the salary range, there are several other factors that can affect how much money an NFL player makes with a team, including:

  • Post: A player’s position on a team can affect their pay potential, with quarterbacks and wide receivers typically making the highest salaries on an NFL team. However, fullbacks and tight ends are among the lowest-paid positions in the NFL.

  • Experience: A player’s level of experience or the number of years he has played with the same team can help increase his salary. For example, it is common for players to negotiate a higher salary when renewing their contract with a team.

  • Display: Players who perform well and live up to the expectations of the coach or manager are likely to remain on the team’s active roster, which ensures that they continue to make the minimum wage.

  • Health: A player’s health can affect their performance and their ability to play in sports, which affects their pay. If a player is injured and has to miss a game, they may lose pay unless their contract guarantees the injury, which requires a team to pay them for games that they play. They miss due to injury.

  • Ages: Soccer is a physical sport, and for some players, especially in more physically demanding positions, it can be difficult to continue to perform at their best as they get older. For this reason, some athletes only play in the NFL for a few years, which can affect their total pay potential.

related: How to Write a Sports Resume (With Template and Examples)

What Other Compensation Can NFL Players Earn?

In addition to their basic salary, NFL players have many other opportunities to make money during the season, especially if they perform well. Here are some other ways players can earn compensation:

signing bonus

NFL players may receive a signing bonus when they officially sign a contract to play for a team. Typically, a team pays this bonus to the player during his first year with a team. An NFL team may choose to pay the signing bonus all at once, or they may split the payment over a period of more than five years.

related: When is the signing bonus paid?

roster bonus

Players can earn roster bonuses if they remain on the team’s active roster on a specified date. Players who have a contract roster bonus earn that money if they are still on the team’s active roster as of the date specified in their contract. Teams can also offer players a per-game roster bonus, which rewards players who are on the active roster in a specific week. With this option, players can earn bonuses on the active roster every week. Teams often use this type of roster bonus to motivate players to stay healthy during a season.

workout bonus

Teams award workout bonuses to players who participate in a certain number of off-season workouts. When a player completes the number of workouts specified in their contract, they earn a bonus. Players who have four years of experience in the NFL or more can miss up to five workouts without losing this bonus.

Option Bonus

An option bonus is similar to a signing bonus, although it occurs when the player has already signed the contract. Teams usually pay players this bonus a year or more after signing the contract. Like a signing bonus, teams can spread payouts for an option bonus over a period of up to five years.


Teams may choose to establish monetary incentives for players to achieve specific goals or milestones during a season. For example, teams may set a goal to run for 1,000 yards over the course of a season. If the player achieves that goal, they earn those incentives. Teams can specify whether a player is likely to earn (LTBE) or not likely to earn (NLTBE) these incentives in the season. LTBE incentives are calculated in the team’s current pay range, while NLTBE incentives are calculated in the next year’s pay range.

post season salary

While teams pay players a basic salary in the regular 17-week season, teams that make it to the season later earn extra money through the league. Each player on a team makes the same amount in each subsequent playoff game of the season. Players on both teams make the same amount for divisional and conference championship games, regardless of whether their team wins or loses. Players on the Super Bowl winning team earn more than their opponents in the championship game.


Some NFL players, especially those who are famous and popular among fans, can earn extra money through advertising. Companies partner with athletes to compensate athletes in exchange for promoting their products. For example, an NFL player may have a contract with a sports drink company to promote their product through a series of advertisements. Some high-profile NFL players have earned millions of dollars through endorsements.

Please note that none of the companies mentioned in this article is actually affiliated.

Back to top button