How money adds up in the postseason

Now that we’ve reached the second season, I’m receiving many questions about what players are paid during the postseason. Here are some answers, starting with the most important one: The amount of a player’s salary in his contract is now irrelevant.

Player compensation is now no longer a team expense; it’s a league expense. The NFL deposits the appropriate amount of money – depending on the team’s success -- into the team accounts, and that money is used to pay players their playoff shares.

Player salaries for 2009 have already been earned and paid. No player is paid during the playoffs according to what he was scheduled to make in salary during the season.

So someone like Brett Favre, who made $12 million in salary ($706,000 per week); or Donovan McNabb, who made $12.5 million in bonuses and salary; or Terrell Suggs, who made more than $15.1M in bonuses and salary; or Greg Jennings, who made $16.25M in bonuses and salary, will now be making the amounts shown below.

Here are the cumulative amounts of postseason compensation for the 2009 season. A player on the teams mentioned will receive the amount listed for each postseason game played:

Wild Card Round

Players on the division-winning team (Cardinals, Cowboys, Bengals, Patriots) receive $21,000 for the game.

Players on other teams (Packers, Eagles, Jets, Ravens) receive $19,000 for the game.

Divisional Round

Players receive $21,000 for the game.

Conference Championship

Players receive $38,000 for the game.

Super Bowl

Players on the losing team receive $42,000 for the game

Players on the winning team receive $83,000 for the game.

Here’s what players on these teams would receive if they win the Super Bowl:

Players on the Saints, Vikings, Colts and Chargers would receive a total of $142,000 each (about 20 percent of Favre’s weekly paycheck).

Players on the Packers, Eagles, Jets and Ravens would receive a total of $161,000 each.

Players on the Cardinals, Cowboys, Bengals and Patriots would receive a total of $163,000 each.

Yes, the wild-card round teams do get some financial advantage to playing the extra game, but again, the amounts are miniscule by NFL standards (about equal to the weekly paycheck of a first-year player’s minimum salary of $320,000, or $18, 824).

The postseason, of course, is about a lot more than money to these players, or at least we’d like to believe so.

Let the games – and the playoff shares – begin.

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