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Salaries in football - Essay Example

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No business is more cloaked in mystery or shrouded in hyperbole than that of the National Football League. Revenue sharing, salary caps, signing bonuses, and incentive clauses are all terms that relate to professional sports and are often considered uniquely football in nature…
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Download file to see previous pages Football players also face the reality of an extremely short career when compared with actors, singers, or even other professional sports. While they are playing their pay depends on the negotiated minimum set by the players union, the player's ability, incentives, and signing bonuses.
Every player is guaranteed a minimum pay rate, but almost every player exceeds this amount. The Green Bay Packers had the lowest median pay rate during the 2007 season, yet all their players exceeded the minimum for a first year player of $285,000. The $285,000 minimum is for a first year player, an amount, which increases, based on the number of years in professional football. In addition, players are paid for their pre-season workouts and post season games. These extra incentives and bonuses helped bring the median pay of the highest paid Pittsburgh Steelers to over $1,1 million during that same season (USA Today, 2009). The team salary cap to some degree limits the amount of money the team is able to pay players, but many earn in excess of several millions of dollars such as Dwight Freeney of the Indianapolis Colts at $30.75 million (Weisman, 2007). While traditionally quarterbacks have been considered the franchise position and commanded the highest pay, in 2007 only 2 of the top 20 salaries went to quarterbacks (Weisman, 2007). Defensive players can often garner higher signing bonuses because "Freeney and a number of other defensive ends signed new deals as free agents, while quarterbacks rarely get to free agency (Weisman, 2007). Indeed on the Indianapolis Colts, where the highest paid player calls home, the star quarterback Peyton Manning earns just one-third that amount (USA Today, 2009). These incredibly high salaries come from a variety of sources.
On top of a base salary are signing bonuses and performance incentives. For example, Dwight Freeney's base pay is only $750,000, but received a $30 million signing bonus (USA Today 2009). Most signing bonuses are paid out over a number of years to allow the team to average them out and stay under the salary cap. Many players also negotiate for incentive bonuses based on their level of performance during the season. This may be based on yards gained for a running back or touchdowns for a quarterback. Performance incentives can come in the form of individual or team performance, and performance based incentives are usually a small portion of the players overall pay. For many of the top tier players, the signing bonus is a large portion of their pay. It is also the most secure portion of their pay as it cannot be lost based on future unpredictable events such as injury or being cut from the team.
The player receives their pay through a sequence of checks distributed throughout the season. The signing bonus is paid upfront, and the salary is pro-rated throughout the season. The player receives a check for one-seventeenth his yearly salary each week during then season. At the end of the season the player receives additional money for his performance incentives and post-season play. If the player loses his slot on the roster during the season and is cut from the team, he gets to keep the signing bonus but loses the remainder of the weekly checks.
Determining the level of pay for any individual player is a complex system of supply and demand, level of ability, years in the NFL, and the salary cap. Team owners ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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