Chiefs safety Tyrann Mathieu said last week he has loved playing more games than any team in the NFL over the past four seasons, and he listed a few reasons.
“Yeah, I think at the end of the day it is a blessing to be able to work another week or get another week’s paycheck, you know what I mean?” Mathieu said. “But it’s been a blessing, man, to play as many games as we played.”
While Mathieu and his teammates will receive a paycheck each week they play during the postseason, the money is dwarfed by his regular weekly play. This season, Mathieu’s base salary, according to Spotrac, is $14,550,000.
NFL players are paid weekly through the regular season, and there were 18 weeks this season, meaning Mathieu’s paycheck was at least $808,333.33.
Even if the Chiefs win the Super Bowl, Mathieu’s total postseason pay would be less than 40% of what he sees on his weekly paystub.
Of course, the playoff money isn’t exactly chump change. By Sunday, the players will have earned $85,000 for the first two postseason games played by the Chiefs.
If the Chiefs win the Super Bowl, they’d receive a total of $300,000, which is nearly half the minimum NFL yearly salary of $660,000 ($36,666.67 a week).
Here is the breakdown by round of the NFL playoffs, from the collective-bargaining agreement on the NFLPA website.
Division Winners playing in Wild Card round: $42,500
Other Wild Card teams/Division Winner with first-round bye: $37,500
Divisional Playoff Game: $42,500
Conference Championship Game: $65,000
Super Bowl Winning Team: $150,000
Super Bowl Losing Team: $75,000
Who gets paid?
Every player on the 53-man roster, inactive list or on injured reserve when a wild-card or divisional playoff game is held will receive the full amount of money listed above.
That changes in the conference championship games and the Super Bowl when some players will received a half-share.
A player on the 53-man roster who has been on the active or inactive list for a minimum of the previous three games (regular season or playoffs) with a team will receive the full amount for the conference game or Super Bowl.
Ditto for a veteran player under contract when the playoff game is held but who could not play because of an injury.
Also getting a full game check: a player on the 53-man roster who was not on the active or inactive list when the postseason game was played but was on the roster for at least eight previous games (regular season or playoffs).
A half-share is given to a player on the 53-man roster when a game is played who has been on the roster for fewer than the three previous games (regular season or playoffs).
The same goes for a rookie player under contract when the playoff game is held but who was out because of an injury.
One more way to qualify for a half-share: if a player on the 53-man roster (not on the active or inactive list) when the playoff game is played but has been on the roster “for at least three and no more than seven games” (regular season or playoffs).