What Is Minimum Salary In The NFL?

John Rizzo

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Minimum Salary

The 2021 NFL season will be the first in which players are required to make a minimum salary of $1,000,000. Minimum salaries for other seasons will increase based on how much each team is over the salary cap limit.

In 2020 and 2021, there was no salary cap so teams were free to pay whatever they wanted to their players. As of 2022, the league has set a minimum payment threshold at 95% of a player’s previous year’s earnings (or 120% if that player signs a new contract).

This means that even if your team is above the salary cap limit, you can still sign your star player without penalty because he would only earn less than his previous year’s income ($989k instead of $1m).

What Is Minimum Salary In The NFL?

The NFL Minimum Salary for the 2020-21 season is $495,000. For the 2021 season, it will increase to $525,000 and then grow by 5% each year until 2022 when it reaches $569,500.

Players who have played in at least 4 seasons are eligible for a larger salary as determined by their experience level.

If you’re not currently playing or haven’t played in 3 years, you can still receive a minimum salary of $40,000 per year based on your experience and education levels.

NFL Minimum Salary

The NFL minimum salary is $465,000 per year. This amount changes depending on how long you’ve been playing in the league and your experience level. If you have less than four years of experience, you’re eligible for a lower salary of $420,000 per year.

You can make more money by becoming an unrestricted free agent or signing with a team as part of a contract extension. Make sure to research the market value of your skills before negotiating your salary with your employer or agent

2020-21 Season

The 2020-21 NFL season is just around the corner and with that, comes the usual discussions about who will be making the big bucks. As of now, it’s unclear what the minimum salary for players in the league will be this year.

However, it’s safe to assume that things won’t stay at $14 million for long – especially considering how much money some teams are prepared to spend on player contracts.

If you’re planning on trying out for an NFL team this year, make sure you have a hefty bank account waiting – or else your dreams may end up being dashed before they even start.

Keep an eye on salaries as they change over time – because if there’s anything we’ve learned through history…it’s that minimum salary increases always tend to happen sooner rather than later.

2021 Season

The minimum salary for NFL players in 2021 is $1,000 per week. This amount was increased from the previous minimum wage of $821 per week in 2018.

Players who make less than the new minimum wage will receive a signing bonus as well as other forms of compensation that can bring their weekly pay up to the required level.

In 2020, there were 38 teams playing in the NFL and all but two of them had players making at least the minimum wage or above it.”

Make sure you’re aware of any raise opportunities that might be available to you so that you don’t fall below the required salary threshold for next season.

2022 Season

The minimum salary in the NFL for the 2022 season is $43,000. The minimum salary for players in the NFL will increase by $4,500 each year through 2024.

In order to be eligible for a minimum salary, an athlete must meet certain requirements including playing at least one game in a given season and not having been suspended from football during that time period.

Players on rookie contracts or first-year pro deals are exempt from meeting these qualifications, which means they can make more money than other players without meeting the minimum requirement.

If you’re looking to make some extra cash this offseason, being a part of an NFL team may be your best option.

NFL Minimum Salaries (2006 – 2022)

YearMinimum Salary (Rookie)Minimum Salary (Veteran, 1 year)Minimum Salary (Veteran, 2 years)Minimum Salary (Veteran, 3 years or more)

NFL Minimum Salaries Per Year

NFL Minimum Salaries Per Year
Chart of NFL Minimum Salaries Per Year

NFL Salaries

The National Football League (NFL) is a professional American football league consisting of 32 teams, divided equally between the National Football Conference (NFC) and the American Football Conference (AFC).

The NFL is one of the four major professional sports leagues in North America and the highest professional level of American football in the world.

As such, NFL players are among the highest-paid athletes in the world. In this article, we will look at the average salary of NFL players and how it has changed over the years.

The Current Average Salary of NFL Players

According to Spotrac, a website that tracks sports contracts and salaries, the current average salary for an NFL player is $50 million per year.

This figure includes all players, from rookie to veteran, and takes into account the various types of contracts (e.g. minimum salary, veteran minimum salary, and multi-year contracts) that players can sign.

Highest-Paid players in the NFL

While the average salary for an NFL player is $50 million per year, some players earn significantly more than this.

The highest-paid player in the league is currently Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes, who signed a 10-year contract extension worth up to $450 million in 2020.

Other top earners include Los Angeles Rams quarterback Jared Goff ($31 million) and New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees ($50 million).

These players are among the elite at their positions and have earned their high salaries through a combination of on-field performance and successful negotiations with their teams.

The highest salary belongs to Aaron Rodgers, who plays for the Green Bay Packers and earns $50.3 million.

The other quarterbacks listed all have salaries ranging from $35 million to $46.1 million. All of the players listed are quarterbacks and play for various teams across the NFL.

Player NameRoleTeamSalary
Aaron RodgersQBGreen Bay Packers$50.3 million
Kyler MurrayQBArizona Cardinals$46.1 million
Deshaun WatsonQBCleveland Browns$46 million
Patrick MahomesQBKansas City Chiefs$45 million
Josh AllenQBBuffalo Bills$43 million
Derek CarrQBLas Vegas Raiders$40.5 million
Dak PrescottQBDallas Cowboys$40 million
Matthew StaffordQBLos Angeles Chargers$40 million
Russell WilsonQBDenver Broncos$35 million
Kirk CousinsQBMinnesota Vikings$35 million

The lowest-paid players in the NFL

While the highest-paid players in the NFL earn millions of dollars per year, the lowest-paid players in the league earn significantly less. The minimum salary for an NFL player is determined by the number of years they have been in the league.

For example, a player with zero years of service will earn a minimum of $660,000 in 2021, while a player with 10 or more years of service will earn a minimum of $60 million.

These minimum salaries are significantly lower than the average salary of $50 million, and many players earn even less than the minimum due to their contracts or the specific terms of their deals.


NFL rookies, particularly those drafted in later rounds, tend to have lower salaries compared to established players. The minimum salary for a rookie in the 2021 season was $660,000.

This amount can increase slightly each year due to annual adjustments in the NFL’s Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA).

Practice Squad Players

Players on the practice squad, who are not on the active roster but still affiliated with an NFL team, earn significantly less than active roster players.

In 2021, the minimum practice squad salary was $9,200 per week. However, the exact salary can vary depending on the player’s experience and the team’s policies.

Veteran Minimum

For veteran players with at least one year of NFL experience, the minimum salary is higher than that of rookies. In 2021, the minimum salary for a player with one year of experience was $780,000.


How often do NFL minimum salaries change?

NFL minimum salaries can change periodically as part of the league’s Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) negotiations.

Changes may occur when a new CBA is agreed upon, typically every few years. Therefore, players and fans should expect minimum salary adjustments when a new CBA is negotiated.

Do practice squad players receive a minimum salary?

Yes, practice squad players in the NFL receive a minimum salary, which is separate from the salaries of players on the active roster.

The minimum practice squad salary can vary from year to year. As of 2021, it was $9,200 per week, but this figure may change in the future.

Do players receive any additional compensation besides their base salary?

Yes, NFL players can receive additional compensation beyond their base salary through various means, including signing bonuses, performance incentives, roster bonuses, and playoff bonuses. Some players also earn income through endorsement deals and appearance fees.

To Recap

The minimum salary in the NFL varies significantly based on a player’s experience level, with those who have played at least four seasons eligible for higher compensation.

Additionally, players who are not currently active or have been away from the league for three years can still receive a minimum salary of $40,000 per year, taking into account their experience and education levels.

These salary structures are essential to ensure fair compensation for NFL players and are subject to change with each Collective Bargaining Agreement negotiation and adjustments in the league’s policies.

Staying informed through official sources is crucial to understanding the most up-to-date salary details in the NFL.

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John Rizzo

I am a professional rugby player in the Washington DC-Baltimore area. I have been playing rugby for over 10 years and have had the opportunity to play in many different countries. I am also a coach for both youth and adult rugby teams. I graduated from Johns Hopkins University with a degree in Sports Management and Marketing. I am currently working on my MPA from American University and plan to pursue this career path after graduating next year. LinkedIn

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