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UFL salaries vs. NFL stars’ game checks: How fast 10 players make $54,000 on the field

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The United Football League — which is the product of a merger between the XFL and the USFLenters Week 4 this weekend. It is made up of younger players trying to make their way into the NFL, former NFL players wanting to extend their careers and players of all experience levels striving to keep their football dreams alive a little while longer.

What do players get paid to play in the UFL? According to the league, each player gets a salary of $50,000 plus a weekly housing stipend of $400, which starts at the end of training camp and lasts for a minimum of 10 weeks. Players on playoff teams get an additional one to two weeks of housing stipend depending on how far their teams advance.

While $54,000 for a few months’ work is solid, how does it compare to the salaries of their NFL counterparts? Thanks to help from ESPN Stats & Information, we selected 10 players and calculated how long it would take them to net a UFL player’s regular-season compensation.

The chosen players included the league’s highest-paid player, the reigning three-time Super Bowl MVP, the highest-paid defensive player, backup quarterback, kicker and long-snapper, a quarterback with XFL experience, an All-Pro on a rookie contract, a running back and the quarterback of the defending NFC champions. To calculate the NFL salaries, we used each player’s three-year average (APY) as recorded by ESPN’s Roster Management System. We also took playing-time liberties for this exercise.

How long to earn $54,000: 60.09 seconds

Burrow is the highest-paid player in the NFL according to APY, as the five-year deal for $275 million that he signed this past September averages out to $55 million per year. Breaking that down further, Burrow makes $53,921.57 per minute played, which means roughly two plays in a non-half-or-game-ending situation. UFL teams might have to save him for a two-minute drill or another late-game scenario.


How long to earn $54,000: 1 minute, 11 seconds

The reigning Super Bowl champion and MVP could play maybe one snap longer than Burrow in the UFL, as the 10-year extension he signed in 2020 averages out to $46.34 million per year or $45,431.57 per minute. UFL teams would get 71 seconds of game time with the current GOAT which, if used correctly, is plenty to make an impact. Just ask Bills fans what Mahomes can pull off in 13 seconds.


How long to earn $54,000: 1 minute, 37 seconds

Quarterbacks are nice, but sometimes you need a game-wrecker, and Bosa is as good as they come. He’s also the most expensive, as the five-year extension he signed on the eve of last season’s opener nets him $34.2 million per year. That translates to $33,529.41 per minute, so if UFL teams are wise and save the 2022 NFL Defensive Player of the Year for obvious pass-rush situations, they can maximize the nearly 100 seconds they can play him.


How long to earn $54,000: 6 minutes, 16 seconds

We’ve already covered the superstar starting quarterback angle, so how much does the highest-paid backup cost? That’s where Wilson, the No. 2 pick in the 2021 draft, factors in. Wilson is on the final year of his rookie deal, which averages $8.79 million per year, or $8,617.65 per minute. UFL teams could get almost a half-quarter from Wilson, and the Jets might be willing to make that happen.


How long to earn $54,000: 7 minutes, 53 seconds

Jones was a solid player in seven seasons with the Packers, ending his time there with 226 rushing yards in the 2023 playoffs, including a three-touchdown game against the Cowboys in the wild-card round. That netted him a one-year, $7 million contract with the Vikings this offseason, which brings him $6,862.75 per minute. The roughly eight minutes a UFL team could play him might be valuable, especially with Jones’ ability to catch passes out the backfield.


How long to earn $54,000: 8 minutes, 54 seconds

There are kickers, and then there is Tucker, who is rightfully the NFL’s highest-paid place-kicker after signing a four-year extension in 2022 that averages $6.2 million per season. That’s an average of $6,078.43 per minute. Since he’s a specialist, a crafty UFL team could be creative with the nearly nine minutes of roster time the NFL’s record holder for longest field goal could play. And Tucker would be a force kicking off from the 20.


How long to earn $54,000: 12 minutes, 54 seconds

Parsons is bound for a megaextension from the Cowboys at some point soon, but right now he’s still on the rookie deal he signed in 2021, which averages $4.27 million per season or $62,794.12 per quarter. They would get nearly a quarter from the All-Pro linebacker, which is arguably the second-best bargain for an NFL player (we’ll get to the first shortly). A quarter of Parsons wreaking havoc off the edge or tracking down ball carriers would be a boon for a lucky UFL team.


How long to earn $54,000: 21 minutes, 47 seconds

Heinicke knows about the spring football life, as he played in the 2020 version of the XFL before graduating into his current role as an NFL bridge starter/high-end backup. His recently restructured deal with the Falcons averages $2.53 million per season, or $37,205.88 per quarter. If Heinicke ever gets nostalgic and wants to run it back, a UFL team can get a quarter-and-a-half from him.


How long to earn $54,000: 32 minutes, 59 seconds

Long-snappers don’t get much attention, but Rhodes does the best financially, as the 2021 All-Pro signed a four-year extension prior to last season which made him the highest-paid long-snapper in the NFL. That deal averages $1.67 million per season, or $49,117.65 per half. Rhodes could stabilize the special teams for a lucky UFL team for one half and roughly three minutes of the third quarter.


How long to earn $54,000: 58 minutes, 59 seconds

We mentioned earlier that Parsons was the second-best deal in the NFL. This is the first, as Purdy has gone from the last pick of the 2022 draft to an NFC champion and the single-season passing yards leader in 49ers history. Purdy is on the third year of his rookie deal and averages $934,000 per season, or $54,941.18 per game. A UFL team can have Purdy for an entire week, save for a minute or so.

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