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NFL Salaries: How much do cheerleaders make?

We all know about Kansas City Chiefs star quarterback Patrick Mahomes signing a 10-year, $450 million contract extension this past NFL offseason, making it the largest and most valuable contract given to a player in NFL history.

Mahomes will be making, on average, $45 million per year. To give readers some perspective, the average salary for an NFL player is just $860,000, which says a lot about Mahomes' deal.


The salaries of NFL players and coaches are well-known to the public for the most part, but it's not as easy to find the salaries of the personnel surrounding NFL teams, e.g. referees and cheerleaders.

Here's a quick look at some of the salaries for people who help make the NFL the cultural juggernaut that it is, but don't play or coach the games.

How much do NFL cheerleaders make?

Houston Texans v Jacksonville Jaguars

What has been known as a poor-paying industry, the cheerleaders' salaries vary depending on each team.

They can make a maximum of $4,000 each season, and this does not include costs such as rehearsals, makeup, and more. For many NFL cheerleaders, they are required to get second jobs due to the low salary. It is essentially a part-time job that many cheerleaders use as a launching pad to go into modeling, acting and other professional dance opportunities.

For those who want to dive into the harsh reality of cheerleaders trying to make it big, check out the reality TV show, "Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders: Making The Team," which features 14 seasons of what cheerleaders go through on the NFL level.

How much do NFL practice squad players make?

Tampa Bay Buccaneers Training Camp

As fans, sometimes we overlook the potential of players on the practice squad. Players such as running back Arian Foster, defensive end Cameron Wake and linebacker James Harrison all spent time on NFL practice squad rosters before making it to the 53-man roster and performing well.

Most recently, former All-Pro receiver Dez Bryant was signed to the Baltimore Ravens practice squad after being out of the league for three years. Bryant was called up to the main roster and has become a valuable contributor for the Ravens this season.

Currently, practice squad players make $8,400 per week. If they remain on the practice squad for all 17 weeks of the season, that is a total of $142,800, which is certainly a good payment compared to the average household income of $56,516 in the United States.

If player on the practice squad has at least two years of NFL experience, they get paid $12,000 per week, which turns into $204,000 for 17 weeks.


How much do NFL referees make?

Pittsburgh Steelers v Baltimore Ravens

Sometimes, watching referees run on the sidelines with other players makes us wonder whether they are players themselves. They certainly have the hardest job in the game, determining flag calls, challenges, and more. Over the past few years, there have been several controversial calls made, especially during the playoffs.

Refereeing is one of the most thankless jobs in any sport, especially in the high-pressure NFL atmosphere.

In 2019, NFL referees made on average $205,000 for the season. That is certainly a healthy sum of money to be paid for the four months of the regular season, and some refs get paid extra if they are chosen for playoff and Super Bowl games. As for the 2020 season, it is unclear whether COVID-19 had an effect on the referee salaries. Regardless of the controversies, they are doing a great job working in such conditions.

How much do NFL announcers make?

Jim Nantz and Tony Romo

When it comes to NFL commentators, we all look forward to hearing from a few on Sundays and Mondays, while the rest we would rather stray away from.

Fans watching games on CBS have certainly enjoyed the addition of Tony Romo to the booth, who has been known to call out plays before they even begin. We also cannot forget about the "Sunday Night Football" duo of Cris Collinsworth and Al Michaels, both of whom have seen how the game has evolved over many years.

Last season, we saw former Dallas Cowboys' tight end Jason Witten join ESPN's "Monday Night Football" booth on a $4 million-per-year contract, only for Witten to unretire and play for the Las Vegas Raiders this season.

But as for other commentators and announcers, salaries can vary anywhere from $1 million to $17 million per year. No wonder players who retire highly consider entering the booth.

Edited by
Amaar Burton
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