ATLANTA -- Although the average salary for an NFL quarterback decreased by about 25 percent in 1994, from $1.54 million to $1.148 million, the league's passers once again led the parade to the pay station.
According to an NFL Players Association confidential salary survey obtained by the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, quarterbacks Troy Aikman of the Dallas Cowboys ($6.37 million per year), the San Francisco 49ers' Steve Young ($5.05 million) and the Denver Broncos' John Elway ($4.82 million) hold down the league's top three salary spots.
Of the NFL's 10 highest-paid players based on a per-year average of individual contracts, seven are quarterbacks.
Overall, average player salaries increased less than 1 percent from 1993, but reached an all-time high of $650,000. With the league operating under a salary cap for the first time, however, comparisons between average overall salaries this year and in past seasons are skewed.
Because the salary cap does not represent actual dollars paid out signing bonuses, for instance, are prorated over the length of the contract even though players generally receive all that money up front -- 17 of the NFL's 28 clubs exceeded the $34.6 million spending limit.