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The Difference Between RG3 Money and Not RG3 Money in the NFL

Written by Ben Carter

Today marks the beginning of the athletic hunger games known formally as the 2014 National Football League Draft. College phenoms like Johnny Manziel and Jadeveon Clowney will be selected by NFL teams and offered contracts that should add great comfort and stability to the remainder of their lives.

How much comfort you ask? That’s a great question.

In 2013 NFL first-round draft picks were offered an average of $10,564,928 in guaranteed money. This means that last year’s first 32 or so picks were paid or would be paid an amount of money any American should be able to retire on. This money isn’t subject to injury or not playing well. “Guaranteed” means that even if a player shrunk five inches, lost all his muscle mass and suddenly forgot how to play the game of American football, they would still be paid (on average) $10 million.

But the NFL Draft doesn’t consist of just one round of picks. There are seven rounds and over 200 college players are selected over the course of a draft. The picture for a player selected in the seventh round is a little different than those picked in the first.

A seventh round pick in 2013 was offered (on average) a contract with $53,033 in guaranteed money. So again, if a person suddenly lost their football talents, they’d be owed only $53,033 for that season. That player would still need to go to a taping for “The Price Is Right” and hope his name was called to even have a chance at thinking about retirement without upping his barista skills.

So this got me thinking… There’s no doubt players drafted in the first round of the draft will play on the same teams as those drafted in the seventh. What must it be like to play next to someone who probably could retire and live a good life, even if they never played for a new contract in the NFL?

Super-star quarterback, and stanky leg expert Robert Griffin III is a classic example of a first-round draft pick’s arrival to superstardom and wealth. RG3 was the second pick in the first round of the 2012 NFL Draft. RG3’s current contract, which last through 2015, guarantees him $21,119,098. There’s no need to mention his endorsement deals with Subway and Adidas. RG3 is rich as… (cue 2-Chainz).

As a quarterback in the National Football League, sometimes you have to hand the ball off to some guy to “run” the ball. It’s a total drag, but guys who run the ball are called running backs. One of RG3’s most used running backs on his team is Alfred Morris.

Morris was the selected in the sixth round in the same year as RG3. Morris has the opportunity to make a great deal of money playing in the nation’s capitol. His contract has plenty of bonuses and incentives, but there’s one thing his contract is lacking. Guarantees. Morris’ contract only promises him $123,000, known in Washington, DC as a U.S. government contractors salary.

The difference in RG3 and Alfred Morris’ salary presents an interesting conundrum when it comes to the money management of athletes. One player may have much more to save, spend or retire on, while another might seriously need to consider what their second career would be sooner than later. Another way to think about this particular scenario is this: they’re in the same backfield, but don’t go to the same golf course.

What do lower paid players in the NFL have to do to keep their finances straight?

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