NFL salaries are always a hot-button topic around the water cooler and amongst friends. We often hear about the highest-paid players and what they’re making, but what about the opposite? Let’s take a look at the lowest you can make as a player in the NFL.
What Is the Lowest an NFL Player Can Make?
The minimum salary for an NFL player in 2023 is currently $750,000. That amount is specific to NFL rookies in their first season. As they progress, the minimum increases to $870,000 and $940,000 in Year 3.
That amount being the minimum doesn’t necessarily mean that a player is going to see all of that money, though. Players who spend every week of the NFL year on the active 53-man roster will get their full allotment, but if a team cuts or puts a player on their practice squad, the amounts change drastically.
How Much Does a Player on the Practice Squad Make?
Players who do not make the team’s initial 53-man roster can be brought back on a team’s practice squad. The NFL allows for 14 additional players to be on a team’s practice squad, giving the team more players for practice, and those players can be pulled up on game day if needed due to injury or other circumstances.
Practice squad players are paid differently, and as a result, they do not get a yearly salary. They are paid based on their being on the practice squad week to week, with a base salary of $11,500 a week to do so. If a player spends the entire 18-week season on the practice squad, they will take home $207,000 for the year.
If a player was brought up to the active roster for a game, he would be paid for his service on the 53-man roster that week rather than his usual practice squad rate. He would get the league minimum salary of $750,000 broken down to a one-week installment which would pay out anywhere from $41,666 to $52,222, depending on the player’s tenure in the league.
A Wide Range of NFL Salaries
The highest-paid player in the NFL currently is Los Angeles Chargers quarterback Justin Herbert. Herbert’s average annual salary is $52.5 million.
There are far more guys in the league closer to league minimum than ones that will ever come close to making what Herbert is currently making. And while the stars of your teams and what they are making is well known, the overwhelming majority of the players we root for on Sundays make closer to that bottom number.