The NFL season might be over, but there’s still professional football to watch thanks to the reincarnated XFL. While some players and coaches have made the jump, the upstart league isn’t a direct clone of Roger Goodell’s league. There are some notable rule changes, and, understandably, the salaries are a little different.
Although no one grew up dreaming of starring in the XFL, the league still represents a chance to earn a paycheck by playing professional football. With that in mind, how much do XFL athletes make each game?
How do NFL players usually get paid?
While everyone knows that NFL players can earn sizable salaries, professional athletes don’t get paid in the same manner as an average employee.
In the simplest terms, a player receives a game check each week of the 17-week regular season; like with most salaried jobs, their annual wages are evenly divided and distributed at the end of each pay period. Playoff pay, however, follows a different scale, with players earning a flat rate that increases with each subsequent round.
A player’s salary doesn’t end there, though. Since NFL contracts are non-guaranteed, most deals include plenty of add-ons. Some, like signing bonuses, ensure that a player receives guaranteed money up-front; others, like roster bonuses, reward a player for making it onto the final squad.
Deals can also include incentives, which pay out if the player accomplishes a specific feat—usually breaking a statistical plateau or earning a league-wide honor—during the season. Incentives can be deemed LTBE (Likely To Be Earned) or NTLBE (Not Likely To Be Earned), which affect how they count towards the salary cap.
How much do XFL players earn each week?
Despite its rule changes, the XFL functions fairly similarly to the NFL; football is football, after all. The league’s pay system follows suit. While it’s a bit different from the NFL, especially in terms of raw numbers, football fans shouldn’t be too confused.
Rather than receiving a conventional game check, XFL players are paid on a bi-weekly basis; they receive $2,080 every two weeks, which breaks down to $1,040 per game. Active players also receive an activation bonus of $1,685, while everyone on the winning team earns an additional victory bonus of $2,222. That means an active player on the winning team will earn $4,947 in a given week.
Quarterbacks, however, play by their own rules. Since everything starts with the man under center, the XFL is trying to attract decent talent by opening their checkbook; according to Yahoo! Sports, the eight XFL quarterbacks will earn $495,000; that’s $15,000 more than the NFL’s league minimum.
Can that salary structure help the XFL get off the ground?
Based on its salary, the XFL isn’t going to be poaching NFL players anytime soon. The league, however, is hoping that their money will be able to speak to inbetweeners and college athletes.
If the league hopes to grow, the quarterback salary will be especially relevant. For all of the XFL’s showmanship and rule changes, fans are tuning in to watch football more than anything else; Landry Jones and Matt McGloin aren’t going to be must-see TV anytime soon. Half a million dollars, however, might be enough to lure some players out of the college ranks or NFL training camp. Would a big-time college program’s back-up or an NFL club’s third-stringer carry the XFL to relevance? Probably not, but you’re not going to go from the outhouse to the penthouse in a single leap.
While it’s not going to challenge the NFL anytime soon, the XFL’s quarterback salary gives the league an outside chance at relevance. If you can attract—and afford to pay—quality players, anything is possible. That’s a big ‘if,’ though.