NFL Players vs. Owners: Are NFL Player Salaries Really Outrageous?

A few years ago, the NFL instituted a salary cap that gives each team the same budget for NFL player salaries. But yesterday, National Football League team owners voted unanimously to terminate their labor contract with the players union early, in a move to cut salary costs. [Reuters] Apparently, team owners feel players are overpaid–though the players disagree.

Just how much are the players making – and what is reasonable for an NFL player salary range?  You probably know the highest-paid player for 2007 was Dwight Freeney, of the Indianapolis Colts, at $30.8 million, not including his signing bonus. Such a hefty income makes you wonder how a salary cap could exist in the NFL – and what exactly “salary cap” means in NFL speak.

In his recent article on the NFL players’ salary cap, producer Jeff Ritter explains the salary cap for NFL player salaries as a maximum amount each franchise is allowed to spend on its total team roster (coaches, trainers, etc., not included). The cap exists in part to keep NFL player salaries at least somewhat under control, while allowing small-market – and less-profitable teams to stay competitive. [NFL Player Salaries on

There’s no doubt a great degree of stress and physical danger associated with NFL player jobs. Their jobs are physically demanding, and they often sustain grueling injuries from which full recovery isn’t possible, and their careers can be shortened.

What do you make of NFL players’ salaries–are owners selfish or are players simply overpaid?