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Getting Paid During Training Camp

Life's great for the NFL's stars. For those hoping for a shot? It's not as glamorous as you think.

Billy Bajema will earn $840,000 over 17 weeks if he's on the 53-man roster. During training camp, he'll make $1,700 a week.
Billy Bajema will earn $840,000 over 17 weeks if he's on the 53-man roster. During training camp, he'll make $1,700 a week.
Chris Humphreys-USA TODAY Sports

Not every NFL player in training camp is living large.

Sure, around half of the players in each team's camp possess job security and are under contract. For those trying to make the team? Not quite.

The NFL Players Association distributed a training camp memo to the league's players. In the memo, it detailed what the compensation would be for the players in what's one of the toughest months to get through individually as an NFL player.

For rookies, the stipend is $925 per week during training camp. Now, money's money and that's not necessarily something to sneeze at. If you multiply that number by the number of weeks in a year, 52, that salary would wind up at $48,100.

For an undrafted rookie such as Marlon Brown, he'll have to make the 53-man roster to see his league-minimum contract play out. This offseason, Brown signed a three-year deal worth $1.49 million. If he makes the team and spends all 16 weeks on the active roster, he'll earn the $405,000 he's scheduled to earn.

If he doesn't stick with the Ravens past the preseason, then he pockets the $925 per week he's allotted in training camp, in addition to the $1,666 signing bonus that was a part of the contract he signed. If Brown, who tore his ACL last November while on the University of Georgia football team, is placed on season-ending injured reserve, he'll still receive his game checks, though an injury settlement between the two parties is always an option.

For veterans, the weekly check is almost double the amount at $1,700 per week. Using third-string tight end Billy Bajema as an example, he re-signed a one-year, $840,000 deal to return to Baltimore but with no signing bonus. During training camp, Bajema will receive his $1,700 per week. If he makes the team and stays on the 53-man roster (or injury equivalent), he'll earn an average of $49,411.76 per week. Big difference.

Making an NFL practice squad is also a good way for a player that isn't good enough to be on a 53-man roster to earn some money. Last year, the minimum salary for a practice squad player was $5,700 per week, or $96,900 for the season. There are only eight practice squad spots per team.

For football players across the NFL landscape, making a 53-man roster pays off in a big way. Making the practice squad is also a great living.

But no one sees that kind of money during this time of the year. Ninety players are battling for 53 spots in the heat for three hours per day across the league, all for the chance of living the life they always dreamed of.

Follow me on twitter: @JasonHButt