NFL Salaries Up 25%, Average $162,000

Associated Press

National Football League players made more money in 1984 than ever, according to a listing of salaries compiled by the NFL PLayers Assn. and published Sunday by the Dallas Morning News.

Due largely to competition for players from the U.S. Football League, NFL salaries increased about 25% over 1983 levels after a 24% average jump over 1982, the newspaper said.

According to the NFL Management Council, the average salary in 1984--including pro-rated signing bonuses--was $162,000. In 1983 it was $130,000, and in 1982, the last year before the USFL began operation, it was $105,000, up from $90,000 in 1981.

On a per-year basis, Houston quarterback Warren Moon is the NFL's highest-paid player, according to the survey.

Moon signed a five-year contract with annual salaries of $200,000 plus a $4.5-million signing bonus, which is fully guaranteed. Using the formula designed by the management council of pro-rating the signing bonus and adding it to the base salary along with other bonuses, Moon's contract comes to $1.1 million per year.

But in total dollar terms, New York Giant linebacker Lawrence Taylor and San Francisco quarterback Joe Montana have the largest contracts.

Taylor signed with the Giants for $6.46 million over seven years. Montana, who has led the 49ers to two Super Bowls in four years, signed a six-year contract last August worth $6.3 million.

The survey named the following as the highest-paid at their position: Billy Sims, Detroit, running back; James Lofton, Green Bay, wide receiver; Kellen Winslow, San Diego, tight end; Dean Steinkuhler, Houston, offensive lineman; Randy White, Dallas, defensive lineman; Taylor, linebacker; Ronnie Lott, San Francisco, defensive back; Ray Wersching, San Francisco, kicker, and John James, Houston, punter.

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