NFL wide receiver salaries change from year to year and have increased significantly over time. Salaries can include a base salary and bonuses. Players move in and out of the league frequently. Wide receiver salaries are generally in the mid-range of all NFL player salaries, and a review of the 2009 to 2010 salary list shows a wide range from a minimum of $310,000 to a top wide receiver salary of $16,251,300.
NFL wide receivers were seventh of 11 general player positions in 2007 in terms of salary, with an average of $1,054,437, according to Sports Illustrated's "NFL's Average Salary By Position." Quarterbacks were highest on the list with average pay of $1,970,982.
The highest 2009 to 2010 salary for a wide receiver was $16,251,300, earned by Greg Jennings of the Green Bay Packers, according to the USA Today list of 196 NFL wide receiver salaries. Jennings' salary included roughly $5 million for a base salary and $11.25 million as a signing bonus. Signing bonuses can distort the perception of annual salary as they are typically given when players sign a new multiyear contract. Roy E. Williams of the Dallas Cowboys was second highest at $13,660,320.
The minimum salary for an NFL wide receiver in 2009 to 2010 was $310,000, as established by the league. Nineteen players earned this as a base salary, according to USA Today, but only two had this as a total salary -- Danny Amendola and Brennan Marion. A total of 43 wide receivers earned salaries below $400,000 during the season, and 63 earned salaries below $500,000.
The median salary based on the 196 players on the USA Today list was $726,458, including salaries and bonuses. Eighty-two players earned salaries more than $1 million, while 114 wide receivers earned total salaries below $1 million.
Many factors affect the salary of individual wide receivers. Highly drafted prospects often get significant salaries and bonuses in their initial contract, while lower draft picks or undrafted free agents are more often at the bottom of the salary list. Players who prove themselves through their play often get better contracts and higher signing bonuses on future contracts as well.