March 20 2012; Englewood, CO, USA; Denver Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning (18) speaks during a press conference at Broncos headquarters. Mandatory Credit: Ron Chenoy-US PRESSWIRE

You Heard It Here First: NFL Salaries Have Reached Their Plateau


This is You Heard It Here First – where thinking outside the box and predicting the future is a social pastime.

The Forbes 100 lists in recent years have become an american institution as eagerly we look at the lists to see who’s richer than who. In the NFL world, the Forbes list of the 100 richest athletes is what interests us most. This year it is no surprise to see that the highest paid NFL player is the recently signed Peyton Manning who ranked 10th overall at $42.4 million.

This got me thinking – how long can NFL salaries continue to increase? The global financial crisis has taught us that money in fact cannot grow exponentially and this is no more apparent than in NFL owners continuing plight to get more of the revenue pie. If you want an example of what can happen when the players get too much of the money, just look at the NBA – the majority of owners there are either losing money or relatively speaking are making very little.

We have a further indication of the likelihood of salaries leveling out with the way the salary cap is likely to move in the coming years. What may shock you to learn is that it won’t be moving very much at all in the near future which in the short term suggests that not even players on big contracts such as Nnamdi Asomugha, James Harrison and Doug Free are protected by the big cap hit their teams would take as teams will be forced to make hard choices to get under the cap.

Looking into the future, I believe the future of player revenue will come in more endorsements. As more and more we see sports celebrities in the public eye we’re going to see more and more corporations getting on board. The super elite will always get the bigger shares – Peyton Manning already earns about $10 million in endorsements – but it may be that in future we see more investment from the corporations in players. In recent times revenue has been driven by the big TV deals but with the way financial markets are changing this could change the thinking of corporate sponsors of the TV networks who may find their dollars are better spent in deals with the players themselves.

In a few years time when reading the Forbes 100, if the salary numbers haven’t climbed that much higher but the endorsements have I won’t be surprised and now neither will you because You Heard It Here First.

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