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UFL Pay Structure for Coaches, Players: What We Know

The seasonal pay structure for coaches in the UFL is being implemented as new contracts are inked ahead of the inaugural season.

The coaching assistants who were laid off in 2023 and are fortunate enough to be back on the job in the UFL have signed new contracts, which began on January 1 and run until July 1.

They were given until the new year to agree to a reduction in pay and new league terms.

The deadline ultimately led to Hines Ward passing on a return to the league and opened the door for Wade Phillips to take the reins in San Antonio.

Unfortunately, Hines Ward's decision also affected his assistants, who were days away from going back on the payroll after months of receiving unemployment insurance.

Head coaches like Wade Phillips, who is under a multi-year deal with the XFL, would have been compensated while Ward sat idle during the UFL 2024 season. Instead, because of Ward's decision, Wade is back in the saddle and bringing over assistants from the 2023 Roughnecks.

XFL head coaches in 2023 all received multi-year deals and were paid in the six-figure range yearly. That practice will slowly subside in the new league. Wade Phillips and the other three returning head coaches in the conference of former XFL teams — Reggie Barlow, Anthony Becht and Bob Stoops — all agreed to the reduction in future pay, taking the "we'll cross that bridge" approach to safeguarding their assistants.

Expect to also see the XFL side fall in line with the USFL's player pay structure.

Through its union agreement, players in the USFL were paid $53,000 last season. The XFL's average regular-season pay for their standard player was $50,000, not including win bonuses.

Apr 30, 2022; Birmingham, AL, USA; Tampa Bay Bandits quarterback Jordan Ta'amu (10) throws against the Houston Gamblers during the first half at Protective Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Vasha Hunt-USA TODAY Sports

Reigning XFL MVP Jordan Ta'amu has yet to make a decision regarding his future with the UFL. As it stands, he would take a significant pay cut to play in the merged league.

However, there were exceptions to the rule. Prominent veteran quarterbacks like A.J. McCarron and league MVP Jordan Ta'amu were paid well beyond the average XFL player salary, both receiving salaries in the six-figure range.

Unless an exception is made for 2024, it appears that all quarterbacks in the UFL will have standard player salaries. For that reason, the return of XFL MVP Jordan Ta'amu is still up in the air. Unless an accommodation is made, Ta'amu would take a big reduction in pay coming off his best season as a pro if he decided to return.

The capped-off player pay could have an effect on some players returning or joining the UFL, but with the new merged league being the only prominent spring game in town. RedBird/FOX has no incentive to compete against themselves.

You can find Mike Mitchell on X @ByMikeMitchell.

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