NFL CBA Series: Paragraph 5 (P5) Salary


Anyone who pays attention to ESPN or NFL Network’s coverage of the NFL has heard the term “base salary.” Surely, most football fans have heard the term “game check” as well. In CBA terms, this is commonly referred to as a player’s Paragraph 5 (P5) Salary because it is set forth in the fifth paragraph of the standard NFL Player Contract.

This salary section in Paragraph 5 of the Player Contract looks something like this (without the box):

5. COMPENSATION. For performances of the Player’s services and all other promises of the Player, Club will pay Player yearly salary as follows:$                     /*                     for the 20_____season;$                     /*                     for the 20_____season;$                     /*                     for the 20_____season;$                     /*                     for the 20_____season;$                     /*                     for the 20_____season.(* – designates the compensation Club will pay player if the player is not on Club’s Active/Inactive List)

(CBA, Appendix A, 259)

This is not the money a player receives for any type of bonus or incentive. It is the salary that is subject to the minimum salaries allowed in Article 26.

Players get checks in weekly or biweekly installments during the regular season starting with the team’s first regular season game (Art. 26, Sec. 5, 147). Though the player or team could opt for either payment plan, weekly payments seems to be the most prevalent method. The payment deadline is typically 4 PM EST on Tuesdays during the season.

To illustrate this let’s look at the Minnesota Vikings, as well as two of League’s, highest-paid players: running back Adrian Peterson and defensive end Jared Allen.

The fifth section of Peterson and Allen looks something like this. I am assuming that since they are proven veterans there is no “Split” in either of their contracts:

Adrian Peterson Contract: Remaining P5 Salary

$11,250,000/*$11,250,000 for the 2013 season;$11,750,000/*$11,750,000 for the 2014 season;$12,750,000/*$12,750,000 for the 2015 season;$14,750,000/*$14,750,000 for the 2016 season;$15,750,000/*$15,750,000 for the 2017 season.

Jared Allen Contract: Remaining P5 Salary

$14,280, 612/*$14,280, 612 for the 2013 season.
English: Jared Allen in 2009 NFC Wild Card Game

English: Jared Allen in 2009 NFC Wild Card Game (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Peterson has five years left on his deal, while Allen will become an Unrestricted Free Agent at the end of the season.

To demonstrate how this breaks down (and assuming they are on a weekly payment plan), Peterson will receive a $661,764 check every week this season—a number that increases to $926,470 in 2017 contingent on his still playing under the same contract.

Honestly, for a player like Peterson, every penny is worth it. He is by far the best running back in the NFL and has the potential to become the greatest back of all time (yes, I did say it).

Allen will receive $840,036 every week of the regular season for his work terrorizing opposing quarterbacks. Allen is going to be 32—old by NFL standards—by the time he plays a game under his next contract. This past offseason the market was down for veteran pass-rushers, and although Allen is definitely a proven commodity, Dwight Freeney was as well (albeit at age 33).

This, of course, is subject to the terms of the individual’s Player Contract, in which the team and player can agree to alternative forms of disbursements, and a player has the right to agree to defer some of his salary.

The fifth paragraph also states that the team will also pay the bonuses that are written into the addendum of his Player Contract. The team is also responsible for travel to offseason activities, along with travel and lodging for preseason, regular season, and postseason games outside of the team’s home city.

*Just to note additional salary: Peterson got a $12 million signing bonus and can earn an additional $5.75 million on his seven-year, $96 million deal ($1.75 million in workout bonuses and $4 million in escalators).

Allen received $15,500,069 for signing (the 69, I am sure, a shout out to his number), earned a $4 million bonus for restructuring in 2009 and being on the roster in 2010, along with a $200,000 LTBE incentive bonus is 2011 and another of the same value he can earn in 2013. (Total: $19, 900, 069)

All contract info compiled from

All stats from

GIF Credit: Bleacher Report

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