We all know that NFL players stand among the best-paid professional athletes, but have you ever wondered how they get paid? Do they receive a weekly or monthly wage? Are they paid at the end of the season? Are there other arrangements in place? If you’re interested in more than just NFL consensus picks, let’s discuss NFL paychecks: how do NFL players get paid?
How Often Do NFL Players Get Paid?
Perhaps the most burning question. Long story short, each NFL player under contract gets paid every week from the start of the season and up to its end. Game checks are usually deposited into the players’ bank accounts on Monday mornings, although the exact day of the week when they get paid could vary from week to week. Each game check corresponds to a portion of the player’s yearly salary, but does not include any monies from bonuses. In total, each player will receive 17 game checks per season.
What Bonuses Do NFL Players Get?
Each NFL player – or their agent – usually negotiates a number of bonuses to be included in his contract. These include:
- Signing bonus: Money earned when the player signs his contract with the team. This bonus is paid in around 12-18 months after the contract is inked and is prorated to the salary.
- Roster bonus: Money a player earns from being on the roster by a specific date.
- Option bonus: Allows a team to use current or future years of a deal by paying a bonus.
- Workout bonus: Money paid to a player for attending an agreed amount of workout in the offseason.
- Reporting bonus: Money earned by reporting to team activities by a specific date.
These bonuses are usually paid as lump sums at different moments throughout the season and offseason.
Do NFL Players Get Paid in the Playoffs?
Yes. Salary and bonuses aside, NFL players also get paid in the playoffs. This amount of money is a payment from the regular season and is not tied to any bonuses and is usually paid as a lump sum.
Playoffs payments are the same for all players in a team. Below, the approximate numbers for various categories:
- Super Bowl (Winning Team): $124,000
- Super Bowl (Losing Team): $62,000
- Conference Championship Game: $56,000
- Divisional Playoff Game: $31,000
- Wild Card Round (Division Winners): $31,000
- Wild Card Round (Non Division Winners): $28,000
Other NFL Payments: Contract Incentives
Contract incentives are amounts given to players to motivate them and improve their performance. Incentive amounts are negotiated by players or their agents when signing a contract and can fall into one of the two categories:
- Likely to be earned: Incentives given for something the player has done before – such as rushing for 1,000 yards in the upcoming seasons when they already received a similar incentive in the past season. These incentives are usually counted towards the team’s salary cap.
- Not likely to be earned: Incentives given for something the player hasn’t done before – such as rushing for 1,000 yards in the upcoming season for the first time.
Contract incentive sums are paid in February or March after the end of the season.