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Salaries Take a Small Dip

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USA Today Article

Salaries take small dip

By Larry Weisman, USA TODAY

Average salaries since 1992

Year Average salary Percent change

1992 $483,900 +2

1993 $666,400 +33

1994 $628,300 -8

1995 $716,600 +10

1996 $787,500 +7

1997 $736,700 -8

1998 $992,700 +33

1999 $1,056,300 +4

2000 $1,116,100 +3

2001 $1,100,500 -1.4

The upward march of player salaries took a year off in the NFL, where the average wage fell by 1.4% in 2001.

NFL Players Association documents examined by USA TODAY showed an average salary of just more than $1.1 million, down about $15,000 from the 2000 average. It was the first drop since an 8% decline in 1997.

NFLPA research director M.J. Duberstein said several factors accounted for the mini-slide, among them:

Smaller-than-expected increases in the salary cap. A number of teams worried more about ridding their roster of big salaries than adding new players last spring. Duberstein called this "a flushing of the system."

A prolonged negotiation of an extension of the collective bargaining agreement. Signing bonuses, which are prorated for cap purposes, are often tied to seven-year contracts. But because the extension was still in the talking stages, last year's deals could only get a six-year proration, limiting the cash outlay by the clubs.

"The fluctuation reflects not only the six-year proration but some of the other lesser-known rules governing the cap that also came into play as an outgrowth of where we were in the labor agreement," said agent Tom Condon, president of IMG Football. "I don't see it as being anything more than that."

Starting players continued to command the biggest share of the bucks. The average starter (all positions) earned $2,455,000, while non-starters averaged $773,000.

NFL teams combined to pay $2.14 billion in salaries last year, with Denver the most generous at $102.5 million in total cash expenditures.

The Broncos became the first NFL team to spend more than $100 million in combined salary and bonuses.


I don't see the media types jumping all over the Denver Broncos about their salary.

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