USFL Salaries: How much will the players make?

The United States Football League will kick off its “comeback” season on April 16.

The USFL, which hasn’t played since 1986, is gearing up for a return. The league finally announced its head coaches for the inaugural season and its upcoming draft.

The league reached initial success by offering lucrative paychecks to young college talents such as Doug Flutie, Jim Kelly, Steve Young, and Reggie White back in its heyday. The investment into player talent paid off during the ’80s as the league’s viewership and on-field product helped it become the most successful professional spring league in recent memory.

Now as the league plans its comeback, the question that fans and players alike have is: What will the salaries look like?

Will they match the rich salaries given in the 80’s?

Will the USFL mimic the $7.5 million dollar contract given to Doug Flutie back in 1985 to lure top talent away from the NFL?

The short answer is no. 

USFL players will begin receiving payments during training camp followed by an average salary of around $45k for a 10-week season.

According to USFL News players will make an average of $45k for the season not including the teams $600 a week pre-season. Practice squad players will earn about $15K on average for the season. The USFL also promises victory bonuses rumored to be $850 a player.

Each team will have a 38-player active roster and a seven-person practice squad. These reported salaries are around the same as the XFL paid their players last back in 2020 and compare well with average salaries in the Canadian Football League especially when taking the USFL’s shorter season into account.

In the XFL players made according to ESPN anywhere between $43k and 66k while the league quarterbacks took home substantially more. In the Canadian Football League salaries typically range higher with the minimum salary set at $65k ($51K USD) for the 2021 season with some stars earning upwards of $300k ($236k USD) a year.

We’ve seen salary play its role along with a multitude of factors as many potential USFL players such as J.T. Barrett, De’anthony Thomas, and Jamie Newman have signed to play in Canada rather than try their luck in the new league.

More details on the league’s players and potential quarterbacks will finally be revealed February 22 as the league is scheduled to hold its first draft in over 36 years. League officials have hinted that there will be “5-6 highly recognizable names” chosen on the day. With that being said, both the league and network executives are hoping to drum up some buzz as the league rolls out its stars for the April kickoff date.

Alex is a former professional American football player who is now studying in London. His goal writing for AFI is to stay involved with the game that has given him so much. Alex enjoys covering leagues and players and sharing different football