Is it possible to be making $1.9 million a year and still be underpaid?

It is if you are an NFL player.

The money being thrown at NBA free agents this week got the attention of Washington Redskins safety Duke Ihenacho and he tweeted, “All this guaranteed money the NBA throwing. Meanwhile the NFL, which generates the most money won’t even make the league minimum $1M.”

Right now the NFL minimum for a rookie is $435,000. NBA rookies will make at least $526,000.

NFL players have themselves to blame. They allowed their union to negotiate a labor agreement that only gets them 48% of league revenues. They also were dumb enough to allow the league to set maximum salaries for incoming rookies.

They should have known that a rookie signing for an obscene amount of money only increases a veteran star’s value and bargaining power.

The NFL is the most popular and the richest professional sports league on Earth. So, how is it that the average salary in the NHL is $2.4 million a year and the NFL’s is $1.9 million?

And the NFL is the only one of the four major sports without guaranteed contracts.

NFL apologists will tell you that their rosters are twice as large as an NHL and Major League Baseball teams’ and three times larger than an NBA’s.

What they usually forget to mention is that MLB and NHL teams have to maintain several minor league teams, while NFL teams have a free farm system provided by college football.

The NFL Players Association may be the worst union in history.

It signed a 10 year labor agreement four years ago that gave the players better working conditions, but not nearly enough of the ridiculously large NFL money pie.

A few months after the labor deal was signed, the league re-upped its network TV deals for nine more years with a 60% increase in payments, from $1.9 billion to $3 billion.

That doesn‘t count the additional billions that come from DirectTV, the NFL Network and Westwood One radio.

That‘s about $7 billion for the 32 teams to share before they sell a ticket, a hat or a seven dollar beer.

Which brings us to Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson, who may be the most underpaid man in America.

He’s expected to sign a new contract some time this Summer. He threw out the number $25 million and there are some who say that he’s being greedy since that would make him the highest paid player in the league.

He deserves it.

Wilson’s a quarterback and the NFL is all about quarterbacks

Grantland.com surveyed bookmakers in Las Vegas a couple of years ago and the professional handicappers told them that an elite quarterback is worth a touchdown a game.

In August of 2013, the Patriots were 10-1 favorites to win the Super Bowl. The bookies told Grantland that, if Tom Brady were to go out for the season, the odds would change to 100-1.

Two years ago, the bookies put Wilson’s value at 3 points per game. He’s been to two Super Bowls since then and he has the highest winning percentage in history for a quarterback in his first three seasons.

Over a 16 game season, $25 million is about $1.6 million per game. The Seahawks will make $6 million per game in media money. They have the highest average ticket price at $452.34 per game.

So, it takes about 3,500 people per home game to cover Wilson’s $1.6 million. A couple thousand more on the road.

Pay the man.

He’s a steal at $25 million a year.

  • Bobzilla

    Here’s the importance of QBs in the ultimate team sport: Last season Ohio State won with a multitude of QBs; in 2010, the Steelers went 3-1 without SuperBen; in 2008, the Patriots went 11-5 without Tom Terrific. History is steeped with really good teams winning without really good QBs. Rex Grossman played in a Super Bowl, and Jeff Hostetler actually played in and won a Super Bowl.
    To those who believe the NFL “is all about the QB,” you’re really missing out on a great TEAM sport.