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The Average Salary of NFL Players

By Matthew Bleicher

The average salary of an NFL player depends on several factors, such as how long he has played in the league, his perceived value to the team and even which team he plays on.

Team Averages

According to the USA Today Salary Database, the team with the highest median salary is the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Their median salary is $1,424,054. The team with the lowest is the only publicly owned team in the NFL, the Green Bay Packers, with a median of $642,000.

Player Averages

According to the NFL Players Association, the average NFL player makes $1.1 million annually. The NFL Players Association is the union that represents all NFL players.

The NFL Salary Cap

The NFL has a salary cap that limits the total amount teams can spend on all of their players in a given year. In 2009, the salary cap will be $127 million. The reason for the cap is to prevent one team from gaining an unfair playing advantage by spending the most on the more prized players.


While some top players earn top dollar--like Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, who earned more than $27 million in 2008--many more earn much less. A rookie in the NFL earns a minimum of $310,000 as of 2009. A 10-year veteran earning the minimum will receive $845,000.

NFL Salary Fact

Only 0.2 percent of all high school football players make it to the NFL. Players that make it to that elite level last a little more than three years, on average.

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