With the start of the XFL season just around the corner, we have a lot to look forward to. But there’s one thing though we want to take a look at, and that is the pay structure and how it stacks up to the other professional leagues.
One, in particular, is the CFL. The Canadian Football League has made great strides in becoming an alternative football option for fans who just want to watch more football games. The pay for players is nowhere near close to the NFL and it never will be, or at least it doesn’t look like it ever will but we never know exactly how things will work out.
The CFL does not release salaries for all players but they do release team salary caps so we can assume certain aspects of pay. According to sources the CFL’s salary cap for each team in 2019 was 5.7 million CAD with an average player salary of $54,000 CAD for the season. That number will increase to $65,000 for the 2020 and 2021 seasons per the CFL’s collective bargaining agreement. The highest-paid player in the CFL is B.C. Lions quarterback Mike Reilly who signed a four-year deal worth 2.9 million CAD. That’s a pretty big contract for the CFL.
So with that in mind how will the XFL compare? We know that the XFL has a “tiered” salary structure with the top tier making $250,000 US a year with possibly going up to $600,000 US which equals $326,512 CAD and $783,630 CAD while the bottom tier will pay from $50,000 up to $70,000. Plus if you look at it in another way, the CFL plays 18 games with the playoffs and the XFL will be playing a 10 game season with 1 playoff round and the championship game. So the team that wins it all will only be playing 12 games compared to the CFL’s 21 week season with each team having three bye weeks and whoever wins the “Grey Cup” (the CFL’s Championship Game) will end up playing 21 games. So with that said the XFL will pay better as players are not playing as long as CFL players.
Perhaps it might seem like the CFL pays better than what the XFL is going to but if you look at the history of the CFL, do you think they always paid that much to a player?
Think about it like this, the CFL was officially founded in 1958 and up until 1990, most salaries were unknown until it was reported that legendary CFL quarterback Doug Flutie signed a two-year contract with the B.C. Lions worth a whopping $350,000 CAD. That’s 175k (if my math is correct) a season. Now of course back then that was good pay but today that would equal $208,698 CAD and in the US dollar equals $159k. The salary cap for the CFL at that time was between 2.8 to 3 million CAD, so very few players made that kind of money playing in Canada.
Even today most players have a second job just to make ends meet. One thing that is admirable about CFL players is the love they have of the game. To put on the helmet and pads to play during the season and afterwards going to a secondary job, you have to love the game in order to do that! How many players need to do that in the NFL?
So if it took the CFL this long to pay players like that then think of how much further ahead the XFL is to the CFL. If the XFL goes as well as I believe it will, then players will be paid even better in a few years. I’m not saying they will be at NFL levels but they will surpass the CFL by miles in just a short amount of time!
Of course this is all hypothetical and since we can’t know for sure how much players are really making in the CFL. We can figure the tiers by the salary cap. And after my research, I strongly believe the XFL players will be living much more comfortably than 90% of players in the Great North.
Revised Salary Information
It was recently discovered that the XFL will not be paying the minimum of $54,000 but only paying $27,000 which has caused a couple players to remove themselves from the league. I understand that since the only competition no longer exists (AAF) that they don’t have to match or beat salaries, now I’m not saying that’s whats happened here but it seems like they are going to reduce salaries drastically which I can foresee quite a few players walking away also! Of course for them to play football for 3 months and make at least $27,000 really isn’t too bad. You couldn’t make a comfortable living on that but not bad for a couple months. So if the XFL does end up paying 27k that would be a total of $35,263 CAD which isn’t that good for all their games played.
I’m not a fan of going back on their word even though I honestly thought the salaries were way too high for a startup league. You would think they would make sure they’ve established a solid fan base and a fun game to watch before dropping that kind of cash for players! It’s not really confirmed how much a player will make for tier 1 or 2 which of course are the big dollar contracts so if they are not going to pay them what they agreed on internally doesn’t set a very good example of how the league will operate!
What do you think? Do you see the XFL passing the CFL in the years to come or will the CFL make the XFL’s pay look like chump change? Let us know in the comments. And if any of my figures are inaccurate, let me know. Thanks for reading and Let’s go XFL Army!
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