Who are the most underpaid NFL positions

NFL: The most anti-social league in the world

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Micheal Bennett is strong. Over 1.90 meters tall, well over 100 kilograms in weight. As the defensive end of the Seattle Seahawks, he chases the stars of the opponent, the quarterbacks. If his chase is successful, he crushes it like a roller.

But Michael Bennett has problems. His toe has been hurting for two years and can only play with syringes. And Bennett is bothered by his contract. He signed it in 2014 for four years and the equivalent of 25 million euros. Bennett wants to earn more, above all to get more money guaranteed. Because it is a maximum salary, he will certainly only have a quarter of his wages in the coming season. He only gets the rest when he plays.

Bennett is one of many football professionals who feel underpaid and argue for higher salaries and better working conditions. He's the loudest in the fight. "You are best protected and best paid," said Bennett of his opponents, the quarterbacks. "Still, they whimper if you catch them and their legs. I wonder: why should their legs be worth more than mine?"

On Instagram he wrote under a picture with his daughters: "Three weddings to be paid for." During training there were two high-profile scuffles with fellow players. Fans and journalists feared that he would go on strike, provoke a change of team or intentionally miss a game.

For millions of fans around the world, the fifth season begins on Friday night. The National Football League (NFL) season begins. It is one of the most spectacular and richest leagues in the world. When you hear NFL, you think of glamor and superstars like Tom Brady. Hence, Bennett may seem like a greedy figure from a make-believe world. But anyone who says that overlooks: The NFL is above all a tough business. If you measure them against European standards and their financial possibilities, you can also describe them as the most unsocial sports league in the world.

High unemployment

There are even more players who demand more despite the million dollar deals. Joey Bosa, third-highest draft selection in the spring, refused to sign a high-paying entry-level contract in San Diego. His team, the Chargers, insisted on both a termination clause and a delayed payout of the hand money. A tough practice in negotiations with talents that has not been common for years. An injury in his first year of career and the college star could be left with nothing. The most important German-speaking NFL blogger wrote: "Bosa is rightly being ripped off."

The problems of the players are complex: Football contracts are staggered differently than the working papers in basketball, ice hockey or European football. A 50 million contract is not automatically a 50 million contract; this also applies to smaller amounts. If a player gets injured, if he gets into a weak phase or if the team simply needs money for another player, many are left on the street.

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There are already a lot of them there. Of the 90 players on each of the thirty-two teams who began preparations that summer, only 53 remain. Only 10 at a time made it into the so-called Practice Squads, in which the players earn 6,000 euros a week and only take part in training. The Germans Markus Kuhn and Björn Werner are among the almost a thousand athletes who have become unemployed in this way in the past few weeks. The many veterans who were no longer invited to the summer training courses are not even included. There is seldom an alternative, as there are few other professional football leagues in the world.