In the latest episode of NFL Hard Knocks the Browns are dropping players to get to the 53 that are allowed during the regular season.

As I understand it, if a dropped player isn't picked up by another team, they will have to wait for the next season before getting the opportunity to play for a team (assuming they aren't picked up during the season to cover an injury).

We hear about all the multi-million dollar contracts that the top players sign but:

  • how much can a player that doesn't make the grade expect to get?
  • Are they paid a fixed sum, a sallery, per game cheque or some kind of performance based incentive?
  • Are they under contract during the pre-season?

From my limited knowledge, NFL seems to be more a way of life than a job, so what do dropped players do when not playing? Are there positions they can take up off the field or do they just get a regular job until they can play again?

up vote 2 down vote accepted

For this year the answer is:

  • $1,075.00 per week for first year players.
  • $1,900.00 per week for veterans.
  • Plus room and board for any player not living within the team's city.

This is set by the collective bargaining agreement between the league and players association. This amount will increase next year and presumably increase during the next bargaining period. From Article 23 of the 2011-2020 Collective Bargaining Agreement:

Section 2. Room and Board: All players will receive room and board during the pre-season training camp, and housing between training camp and the Tuesday prior to their Club’s first regular season game for those players who have not as yet established resi-dence in the Team city.

Section 3. First-year Player Per Diem: A first-year player will receive “per diem” payments, commencing with the first day of Preseason Training Camp and ending one week prior to the Club’s first regular season game, at the following weekly rates for the respective League Years: $850 (2011–12 League Years), $925 (2013–14 League Years), $1,000 (2015–16 League Years), $1,075 (2017–18 League Years), $1,150 (2019–20 League Years).

Section 4. Veteran Per Diem: A veteran player will receive “per diem” payments, commencing with the first day of Preseason Training Camp and ending one week prior to the Club’s first regular season game, at the following weekly rates for the respective League Years: $1,600 (2011–12 League Years), $1,700 (2013–14 League Years), $1,800 (2015–16 League Years), $1,900 (2017–18 League Years), $2,000 (2019–20 League Years).

After a player is cut and not under contract they receive no compensation. However, if they are lucky a player can make the ten-man practice squad which they would be entitled to make $7,600 per week this year

Article 33 Section 3. Minimum salary for a Practice Squad player shall be the following per week, including postseason weeks in which his Club is in the playoffs: $5,700 (2011-2012 League Years), $6,000 (2013 League Year), $6,300 (2014 League Year), $6,600 (2015 League Year), $6,900 (2016 League Year), $7,200 (2017 League Year), $7,600 (2018 League Year), $8,000 (2019 League Year), $8,400 (2020 League Year).

Other than that a player is on his own.

  • Interesting, I've only been watching NFL for a couple of years but was surprised how casually the players took the news that they wouldn't be on the team. It comes across, to me at least, like they've made enough money so being dropped insn't the worst thing in the world... – danielcraigie Sep 14 at 13:00
  • 1
    @danielcraigie Well if they are even a little self aware they realize there are only so many roster slots and most of those are already being taken by veterans. There is a show called Undrafted that follows players that are still trying to make a team. It can be a rough life if you don't have something to fall back on. – Skooba Sep 14 at 13:04
  • Thanks @Skooba I'll take a look. So would you say the attitude is a product of their generation or football culture? I can see that there is more than enough attitude on/off the field for younger players to be infulenced by (for better or worse). – danielcraigie Sep 14 at 13:12
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    @danielcraigie I'd say the attitude they show on TV is a combination of 1) knowing they were a long shot, 2) big tough guys don't want to be seen as "emotional" and 3) editing! – Skooba Sep 14 at 13:37

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