The United States Football League is officially back, and it looks a lot different than the original USFL did in the 1980s when Doug Flutie and Herschel Walker were starring for Donald Trump's New Jersey Generals.
The new league's rules are a change of pace from the football we're accustomed to. Teams can attempt three-point conversions from the 10-yard line, and overtime is a shootout competition in which each team gets three plays from the two-yard line.
NFL and college football fans alike can be excited for a league that will play a total of 40 regular season games over a 10-week period from April 16-June 19. All games will be played at Protective Stadium in Birmingham, Alabama, while the playoffs will be played in Canton, Ohio, at Tom Benson Hall of Fame Stadium.
Former NFL first-round pick Paxton Lynch and Shea Patterson headline a list of 360 total players for the Birmingham Stallions, Houston Gamblers, Michigan Panthers, New Jersey Generals, New Orleans Breakers, Philadelphia Stars, Pittsburgh Maulers and Tampa Bay Bandits in the inaugural season.
As the league gets going in a Generals-Stallions matchup on Saturday, April 16, at 7:30 p.m. ET on FOX and NBC, let's take a look at how much players in the USFL will be making.
How Much Are USFL Salaries?
Players will earn varying amounts depending on their statuses.
According to USFL News, the most a player on an active roster will make is $4,500 per week. Here is a breakdown of those salaries:
- Training Camp: $600 per week
- Practice Squad: $1,500 per week
- Active Roster: $4,500 per week
This means that players who spend the entire 10-week season on an active roster will earn $45,000, while practice squad members can earn $15,000. USFL teams have 45-man rosters — 38 of which are on the active roster and a seven-player practice squad, which means each team will pay out roughly $1.7 million during the season.
It's unclear how much USFL head coaches will make.
How Much are USFL Victory Bonuses?
It's not all just salaries for these hard-working players.
Players will earn an extra $850 for each win their team gets. The extra incentive may not seem like much, but it can add up over the course of the USFL season.
Each player on the team who wins the USFL's championship game will also receive a $10,000 bonus. However, a player on that team won't be eligible for the bonus if they were inactive that week.
This may look like chump change compared to the NFL, which routinely hits players with fines much larger than this, but this is good money for many of these former college football players and former NFL journeymen in the league.
In theory, a player on a team that wins every game, including the championship game, could earn well over $60,000.
How Do USFL Salaries Compare to Other Pro Leagues?
Of course, the USFL is just one of many pro football leagues to have been founded over the years. So how do its salaries compare to its predecessors?
XFL: Players in the XFL reportedly made an average of $55,000, but the top players and quarterbacks made anywhere between $150,000 and $500,000.
AAF: Players in the Alliance of American Football signed three-year $250,000 non-guaranteed contracts and their first year's salary was set at $70,000. However, reports indicated they weren't paid that full amount because the league folded before the end of the first season.
CFL: Canadian Football League players reportedly take home an average salary of $60,000 to $100,000 per season.
All things considered, I'm sure USFL players are happy to make some decent money while also showcasing their skills for a chance to get noticed by NFL teams.
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