The United States Football League (USFL) was a professional American football league that operated from 1983 to 1985. During this time, the league gained popularity and attracted some of the best players in the country. However, one of the most common questions asked about the USFL is how much its players made. In this blog post, we will dive into the details of USFL player salaries.
When the USFL was first established in 1983, the league operated on a salary cap of $1.8 million per team. This meant that each team had to divide its salary budget among its players. The average salary for a USFL player during the inaugural season was around $60,000, which was significantly lower than the average NFL salary at the time.
However, as the USFL gained popularity and more money poured into the league, player salaries began to increase. In fact, the USFL’s willingness to pay high salaries is often cited as one of the reasons for the league’s demise. Some of the top players in the league were making millions of dollars per season, which put a strain on the league’s finances.
One of the highest-paid USFL players was Herschel Walker, who signed a three-year, $5 million contract with the New Jersey Generals in 1985. At the time, this was the largest contract in professional football history. Another top earner was quarterback Doug Flutie, who signed a five-year, $7 million contract with the USFL’s New Jersey Generals in 1984.
While the top earners in the USFL were making millions of dollars per season, most players were still earning a modest salary. The average salary for a USFL player in 1985 was around $85,000, which was still lower than the average NFL salary.
It’s worth noting that the USFL also operated on a different payment structure than the NFL. In the NFL, players receive their salaries over a 17-week period during the season. However, in the USFL, players were often paid in a lump sum at the beginning of the season. This meant that players had to manage their finances carefully throughout the year to ensure that they had enough money to last until the next season.
In addition to salaries, USFL players also received other benefits like housing and transportation. Some teams provided players with free apartments, while others gave them a car to use during the season. These perks helped to offset some of the lower salaries in the league.
Overall, USFL player salaries varied widely depending on the player and team. While some players were making millions of dollars per season, most were earning a modest income that required careful budgeting to manage. Despite the financial challenges, many players enjoyed their time in the USFL and felt that the league provided them with an opportunity to showcase their skills on a national stage.
In conclusion, USFL player salaries ranged from modest to exorbitant depending on the player and team. The league’s willingness to pay high salaries ultimately contributed to its demise, but it also provided many players with a chance to earn a living playing football. While the USFL may be gone, its legacy lives on in the memories of the players and fans who experienced its brief but unforgettable run.