Professional athletes are some of the highest-paid people in the world.
Whether they are extremely popular public figures or not, they have much to profit. The real difference is how NFL and NBA players are paid.
The overall value of an NBA contract is far superior to most NFL contracts. There are some NFL players who sign contacts that are worth $80-$90 million.
NBA stars such as Stephen Curry, Kevin Durant, Russell Westbrook, etc. earn more than $35-$40 million a year. That number is larger than the $25-$30 million that most elite NFL quarterbacks earn annually. Many factors play a role in why there is no equal or close comparison.
Most NFL players have limited contract security within their first year of signing. Some players only get two years of security, meaning the money for the first two years of their contracts are guaranteed. Others may get up to three years of security before their contracts are non-guaranteed.
The contract situation is definitely different in the NBA. When a player signs an NBA contract, they receive every single dollar throughout their deal. There is no such thing as having security for a few years and the rest is not guaranteed if an NBA player is released or waived. An NBA team can remove a player from the team by any means but the player will still be paid the full amount of his contract.
Both leagues have a salary cap system and both leagues have restrictions that they can place on their best players. The NBA has maximum salaries, which limits the full amount that players can receive. Most players can receive the most amount of money in their career when they remain with their same team after many seasons, but some choose to leave millions of dollars on the table for better chances to win championships. The NFL can franchise-tag their best player before he officially becomes a free agent, giving themselves exclusive negotiating rights.
This year’s NBA salary cap per team is $109.1 million. Since each team has 15 players to account for, the average compensation is $7.27 million per player.
An NFL roster is consists of 53 players and the average compensation is $3.55 per player.
Though NBA players are paid more than their NFL counterparts, they probably should be the highest-paid
out of the two sports. Football is a much more violent game than basketball and also has a much higher injury rate than most sports so that may be another reason why NFL players don’t receive full guaranteed contracts. NFL players also play 16 games in a four-month time frame while NBA players play 82 games throughout seven months. NFL rosters are also four times larger than NBA rosters.