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Do NFL players get paid in preseason? How much?

Since NFL contracts only cover the regular season, players receive a pre-season per diem. We take you through how this works and how much NFL players get paid during the preseason

Bad news for the Dallas Cowboys as their wide receiver woes continue. James Washington suffered a fractured foot in the first padded practice of training camp.

Whether it’s the NFL roaring through its regular season or the tranquility of early summer, the league remains a year-round source of news and events. Amid discussions of various matters, even the most passionate fans might find themselves in the dark about certain aspects, like pay received by players during the preseason and postseason. Let’s take you through how much NFL players make during the preseason and how it works.

Preseason pay in the NFL

NFL teams come together for training camps annually before the season starts. Within these training camps, players have the opportunity to showcase their value and secure a spot on the team. The NFL preseason ensues after these camps, featuring a series of exhibition matches in which teams face off to gear up for the upcoming season.

The count of preseason games fluctuates across teams, typically averaging four. These matches maintain a lower intensity level than regular season games, aiding in injury prevention. However, teams remain eager to gauge player performance at game pace, making these matchups the perfect method for evaluation.

A rookie athlete receives a weekly wage of $925, which initiates at the onset of preseason training camp and concludes one week before the team’s initial regular-season game.

For a seasoned player boasting one or more credited seasons, a weekly rate of $1,600 is granted, commencing from the commencement of preseason training camp and terminating one week before the team’s inaugural regular season match.

When the regular season is underway, the paycheck is calculated at 1/16 of their regular season salary, disbursed each Monday throughout the season.

It might surprise you, but the preseason paycheck is completely unrelated to the scale of an existing contract (if applicable).

Every player, without exception, is provided a “per diem” starting from the very first day of preseason training camp.

The most recent Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) outlines the compensation for these two player types, which escalates every two years. These figures are consistent league-wide and do not factor into the team’s salary cap. In the 2023 NFL season, first-year players are entitled to $1,850 per week during the preseason, spanning from the initial day of training camp until the Sunday preceding the commencement of the NFL season. Meanwhile, veteran players receive $3,200 per week.

Considering there are six weeks during which players can receive compensation, the preseason pay of about $19,000 for seasoned players like T.J. Watt may not be exceedingly impactful. Yet, for a rookie aiming to secure a spot on the 53-man roster, the sum of over $11,000 for the preseason holds more significance from a financial standpoint.

What about accommodation and meals?

Additionally, as part of the preseason training camp arrangement, accommodations and meals are extended to every player. Players are reimbursed for meals not supplied by the team on travel days (including preseason, regular season, and postseason) at a uniform rate, regardless of their experience. This rate is around: $38 for breakfast, $48 for lunch, and $66 for dinner.

In the event that players are released from the team’s roster during the preseason, they might even qualify for a salary continuation benefit. This benefit entails a fraction of the salary they would have earned had they successfully secured a spot on the team.

Postseason Compensation

Upon making it to the postseason, all players on the roster earn additional compensation for each game, and this amount remains uniform across all players within a team.