Last year, when the NFL Players Association elected a successor to the late Gene Upshaw, the union negotiated the new Executive Director’s contract after the ballots were cast. The move drew criticism from us (and maybe others) because the union would have had much more leverage against the eventual winner by focusing on the terms before picking a winner.
But while the NFLPA arguably placed the cart before the horse, the new Executive Director ended up being in position to buy a much more modest fleet of chariots.
According to Daniel Kaplan and Liz Mullen of SportsBusiness Journal, the union’s federal LM-2 filing reveals that new Executive Director DeMaurice Smith received $1.6 million for the period ending February 28, 2010. Since he was hired in late March 2009, the number roughly projects to an annual pay rate in the neighborhood of $1.75 million.
Still, it’s far less than the $4.05 million paid to Upshaw under the LM-2 that covered the period of March 1, 2007 through February 28, 2008. For the prior fiscal year, Upshaw’s compensation exceeded $6.7 million.
Meanwhile, the NFLPA’s licensing and merchandising revenue has dropped 15 percent in the past two years, due to a drop in fantasy sports and trading card revenue. Still, the union earned more than $125 million from these ventures.