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How Much Athletes Make for Playoff Runs in the NBA, NFL and Other Sports

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The coronavirus has utterly remade the face of America in 2020, annihilating many aspects of everyday life in a sudden and unexpected way. And while the loss of the postseason for major sports leagues isn’t top of mind for most people, it still represents a painful step.

However, while the pain for sports fans is missing out on the excitement of postseasons, for the athletes themselves it’s also a loss on income. Income that might not be a lot in the context of star players’ massive salaries, but it’s easy to forget there’s a lot more at stake for the role players who often make up significant portions of rosters. For someone making the league minimum, say, while also dealing with virtually zero job security in a field where most careers won’t last into a second decade, playoff checks can be an essential boost to their finances.

That’s why GOBankingRates laid out exactly how much pro athletes will miss out on come playoff time if their leagues are unable to hold games. That includes both the per-team (or per-player, for the NFL) payouts for each round and the total money earned by each playoff team, using the most recent figures from the 2019 seasons. So, take a closer look at how a canceled postseason might affect the finances of the world’s best athletes.

Pictured: Washington Nationals’ Juan Soto

Last updated: April 10, 2020

Alena Veasey / Shutterstock.com

NFL

The NFL plans to continue with the draft as scheduled and the fact that the season doesn’t start for months means they might still be able to go forward with their playoffs as scheduled. Ultimately, though, that hinges on how effectively the country can arrest the spread of coronavirus.

The NFL playoff roster includes 53 players and is paid out on a per-player basis, making it unique as the other three major American sports leagues pay bonuses to the team and allow them to divvy it up. Should the NFL manage to play a normal playoffs in 2021, the expected per-player bonus pay would be:

  • Wild-card round
    • Division winner: $33,000
    • Other: $30,000
  • Divisional round: $33,000
  • Conference championships: $59,000
  • Super Bowl
    • Winner: $130,000
    • Loser: $65,000

Adrian Kraus/AP/REX / Shutterstock.com

Buffalo Bills

  • Player’s total playoff earnings: $28,000
  • Potential earnings at the start of playoffs: $239,000
  • Potential earnings achieved: 11.72%

Pictured: Josh Allen

Lynne Sladky/AP / Shutterstock.com

Philadelphia Eagles

  • Player’s total playoff earnings: $31,000
  • Potential earnings at the start of playoffs: $242,000
  • Potential earnings achieved: 12.81%

Pictured: Jason Kelce

Butch Dill/AP / Shutterstock.com

New Orleans Saints

  • Player’s total playoff earnings: $31,000
  • Potential earnings at the start of playoffs: $242,000
  • Potential earnings achieved: 12.81%

Pictured: Drew Brees

Dave Shopland/BPI / Shutterstock.com

New England Patriots

  • Player’s total playoff earnings: $31,000
  • Potential earnings at the start of playoffs: $242,000
  • Potential earnings achieved: 12.81%

Pictured: Julian Edelman

Gail Burton/AP / Shutterstock.com

Baltimore Ravens

  • Player’s total playoff earnings: $31,000
  • Potential earnings at the start of playoffs: $211,000
  • Potential earnings achieved: 14.69%

Pictured: Earl Thomas

Bill Feig/AP / Shutterstock.com

Minnesota Vikings

  • Player’s total playoff earnings: $59,000
  • Potential earnings at the start of playoffs: $239,000
  • Potential earnings achieved: 24.69%

Pictured: Kirk Cousins

Elaine Thompson/AP / Shutterstock.com

Seattle Seahawks

  • Player’s total playoff earnings: $59,000
  • Potential earnings at the start of playoffs: $239,000
  • Potential earnings achieved: 24.69%

Pictured: Russell Wilson

David J Phillip/AP / Shutterstock.com

Houston Texans

  • Player’s total playoff earnings: $62,000
  • Potential earnings at the start of playoffs: $242,000
  • Potential earnings achieved: 25.62%

Pictured: J.J. Watt

Mike Roemer/AP / Shutterstock.com

Green Bay Packers

  • Player’s total playoff earnings: $87,000
  • Potential earnings at the start of playoffs: $211,000
  • Potential earnings achieved: 41.23%

Pictured: Za’Darius Smith

Tennessee Titans

  • Player’s total playoff earnings: $115,000
  • Potential earnings at the start of playoffs: $239,000
  • Potential earnings achieved: 48.12%

Pictured: Taylor Lewan

Tony Avelar/AP / Shutterstock.com

San Francisco 49ers

  • Player’s total playoff earnings: $149,000
  • Potential earnings at the start of playoffs: $211,000
  • Potential earnings achieved: 70.62%

Pictured: Jimmy Garoppolo

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Ed Zurga/AP / Shutterstock.com

Kansas City Chiefs

  • Player’s total playoff earnings: $211,000
  • Potential earnings at the start of playoffs: $211,000
  • Potential earnings achieved: 100.00%

Pictured: Patrick Mahomes

tookapic / Pixabay

NBA

Winter leagues that typically hold their playoffs in the late spring and early summer are the ones most likely to be forced into a complete cancelation. And while a number of interesting ideas have been bandied about regarding how to potentially hold an abbreviated event after it’s safe to do so, it seems unlikely at this point that NBA players can count on the extra earnings.

Here’s a look at what each NBA team would have split for reaching and/or advancing in the playoffs:

  • Best record in NBA: $625,143
  • Best record in conference: $547,101
  • Second-best record in conference: $437,677
  • Third-best record in conference: $328,254
  • Fourth-best record in conference: $267,703
  • Fifth-best record in conference: $207,152
  • Sixth-best record in conference: $146,601
  • Teams participating in first round: $323,506
  • Teams participating in conference semifinals: $384,930
  • Teams participating in conference finals: $636,094
  • Losing team, NBA Finals: $2,543,681
  • Winning team, NBA Finals: $3,838,798

John G Mabanglo/EPA-EFE / Shutterstock.com

Los Angeles Clippers

  • Team’s total playoff earnings: $323,506
  • Potential earnings at the start of playoffs: $5,183,328
  • Potential earnings achieved: 6.24%
  • Average earnings for each player: $19,030

Pictured: Montrezl Harrell

Erik S Lesser/EPA-EFE / Shutterstock.com

Detroit Pistons

  • Team’s total playoff earnings: $323,506
  • Potential earnings at the start of playoffs: $5,183,328
  • Potential earnings achieved: 6.24%
  • Average earnings for each player: $19,030

Pictured: Langston Galloway

Tannen Maury/EPA-EFE / Shutterstock.com

Orlando Magic

  • Team’s total playoff earnings: $323,506
  • Potential earnings at the start of playoffs: $5,183,328
  • Potential earnings achieved: 6.24%
  • Average earnings for each player: $19,030

Pictured: D.J. Augustin

Kyle Terada/Pool/EPA-EFE / Shutterstock.com

San Antonio Spurs

  • Team’s total playoff earnings: $323,506
  • Potential earnings at the start of playoffs: $5,183,328
  • Potential earnings achieved: 6.24%
  • Average earnings for each player: $19,030

Pictured: LaMarcus Aldridge

Kyle Phillips/AP / Shutterstock.com

Oklahoma City Thunder

  • Team’s total playoff earnings: $470,107
  • Potential earnings at the start of playoffs: $5,329,929
  • Potential earnings achieved: 8.82%
  • Average earnings for each player: $27,653

Pictured: Shai Gilgeous-Alexander

Peter Foley/EPA-EFE / Shutterstock.com

Brooklyn Nets

  • Team’s total playoff earnings: $470,107
  • Potential earnings at the start of playoffs: $5,329,929
  • Potential earnings achieved: 8.82%
  • Average earnings for each player: $27,653

Pictured: Spencer Dinwiddie

Rick Bowmer/AP / Shutterstock.com

Utah Jazz

  • Team’s total playoff earnings: $530,658
  • Potential earnings at the start of playoffs: $5,390,480
  • Potential earnings achieved: 9.84%
  • Average earnings for each player: $31,215

Pictured: Donovan Mitchell

Indiana Pacers

  • Team’s total playoff earnings: $530,658
  • Potential earnings at the start of playoffs: $5,390,480
  • Potential earnings achieved: 9.84%
  • Average earnings for each player: $31,215

Pictured: Victor Oladipo

AWNewYork / Shutterstock.com

Boston Celtics

  • Team’s total playoff earnings: $976,139
  • Potential earnings at the start of playoffs: $5,451,031
  • Potential earnings achieved: 17.91%
  • Average earnings for each player: $57,420

Pictured: Enes Kanter

Erik S Lesser/EPA-EFE / Shutterstock.com

Houston Rockets

  • Team’s total playoff earnings: $976,139
  • Potential earnings at the start of playoffs: $5,451,031
  • Potential earnings achieved: 17.91%
  • Average earnings for each player: $57,420

Pictured: James Harden

Matt Slocum/AP / Shutterstock.com

Philadelphia 76ers

  • Team’s total playoff earnings: $1,036,690
  • Potential earnings at the start of playoffs: $5,511,582
  • Potential earnings achieved: 18.81%
  • Average earnings for each player: $60,982

Pictured: Ben Simmons

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Erik S Lesser/EPA-EFE / Shutterstock.com

Denver Nuggets

  • Team’s total playoff earnings: $1,146,113
  • Potential earnings at the start of playoffs: $5,621,005
  • Potential earnings achieved: 20.39%
  • Average earnings for each player: $67,418

Pictured: Paul Millsap

Keeton Gale / Shutterstock.com

Portland Trail Blazers

  • Team’s total playoff earnings: $1,672,784
  • Potential earnings at the start of playoffs: $5,511,582
  • Potential earnings achieved: 30.35%
  • Average earnings for each player: $98,399

Pictured: Damian Lillard

Tannen Maury/EPA-EFE / Shutterstock.com

Milwaukee Bucks

  • Team’s total playoff earnings: $2,516,774
  • Potential earnings at the start of playoffs: $6,355,572
  • Potential earnings achieved: 39.60%
  • Average earnings for each player: $148,046

Pictured: Khris Middleton

Larry W Smith/EPA / Shutterstock.com

Golden State Warriors

  • Team’s total playoff earnings: $4,435,312
  • Potential earnings at the start of playoffs: $5,730,429
  • Potential earnings achieved: 77.40%
  • Average earnings for each player: $260,901

Pictured: Steph Curry

Justin Lane/EPA-EFE / Shutterstock.com

Toronto Raptors

  • Team’s total playoff earnings: $5,621,005
  • Potential earnings at the start of playoffs: $5,621,005
  • Potential earnings achieved: 100.00%
  • Average earnings for each player: $330,647

Pictured: Kyle Lowry

Leonard Zhukovsky / Shutterstock.com

NHL

Like the NBA, NHL players were just gearing up for a final playoff push when the need to cancel public events made it impossible for the season to continue. They’re lucky enough to have completed most of a season prior to cancelation, but those who might have been en route for the postseason are missing out on more than a chance to hoist Lord Stanley’s cup. Here’s what playoff bonuses look like for NHL teams:

  • Presidents’ Trophy winner: $615,385
  • First-round losers: $307,692
  • Second-round losers: $615,385
  • Third-round losers: $1,538,462
  • Stanley Cup finalists: $2,769,231
  • Stanley Cup champion: $4,615,385

Marcio Jose Sanchez/AP / Shutterstock.com

Toronto Maple Leafs

  • Team’s total playoff earnings: $307,692
  • Potential earnings at the start of playoffs: $4,615,385
  • Potential earnings achieved: 6.67%
  • Average earnings for each player: $12,308

Pictured: William Nylander

Nick Wass/AP / Shutterstock.com

Washington Capitals

  • Team’s total playoff earnings: $307,692
  • Potential earnings at the start of playoffs: $4,615,385
  • Potential earnings achieved: 6.67%
  • Average earnings for each player: $12,308

Pictured: Alex Ovechkin

Pittsburgh Penguins

  • Team’s total playoff earnings: $307,692
  • Potential earnings at the start of playoffs: $4,615,385
  • Potential earnings achieved: 6.67%
  • Average earnings for each player: $12,308

Pictured: Sidney Crosby

Mark Humphrey/AP / Shutterstock.com

Nashville Predators

  • Team’s total playoff earnings: $307,692
  • Potential earnings at the start of playoffs: $4,615,385
  • Potential earnings achieved: 6.67%
  • Average earnings for each player: $12,308

Pictured: Matt Duchene

Nick Wass/AP / Shutterstock.com

Winnipeg Jets

  • Team’s total playoff earnings: $307,692
  • Potential earnings at the start of playoffs: $4,615,385
  • Potential earnings achieved: 6.67%
  • Average earnings for each player: $12,308

Pictured: Laurent Brossoit

Wilfredo Lee/AP / Shutterstock.com

Calgary Flames

  • Team’s total playoff earnings: $307,692
  • Potential earnings at the start of playoffs: $4,615,385
  • Potential earnings achieved: 6.67%
  • Average earnings for each player: $12,308

Pictured: Andrew Mangiapane

John Locher/AP / Shutterstock.com

Las Vegas Golden Knights

  • Team’s total playoff earnings: $307,692
  • Potential earnings at the start of playoffs: $4,615,385
  • Potential earnings achieved: 6.67%
  • Average earnings for each player: $12,308

Pictured: Nate Schmidt

David Zalubowski/AP / Shutterstock.com

Colorado Avalanche

  • Team’s total playoff earnings: $615,385
  • Potential earnings at the start of playoffs: $4,615,385
  • Potential earnings achieved: 13.33%
  • Average earnings for each player: $24,615

Pictured: Erik Johnson

Michael Ainsworth/AP / Shutterstock.com

Dallas Stars

  • Team’s total playoff earnings: $615,385
  • Potential earnings at the start of playoffs: $4,615,385
  • Potential earnings achieved: 13.33%
  • Average earnings for each player: $24,615

Pictured: Jamie Oleksiak

Jim McIsaac/AP / Shutterstock.com

New York Islanders

  • Team’s total playoff earnings: $615,385
  • Potential earnings at the start of playoffs: $4,615,385
  • Potential earnings achieved: 13.33%
  • Average earnings for each player: $24,615

Pictured: Michael Dal Colle

Jay LaPrete/AP / Shutterstock.com

Columbus Blue Jackets

  • Team’s total playoff earnings: $615,385
  • Potential earnings at the start of playoffs: $4,615,385
  • Potential earnings achieved: 13.33%
  • Average earnings for each player: $24,615

Pictured: Pierre-Luc Dubois

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Winslow Townson/AP / Shutterstock.com

Tampa Bay Lightning

  • Team’s total playoff earnings: $923,077
  • Potential earnings at the start of playoffs: $5,230,769
  • Potential earnings achieved: 17.65%
  • Average earnings for each player: $36,923

Pictured: Yanni Gourde

Paul Beaty/AP / Shutterstock.com

San Jose Sharks

  • Team’s total playoff earnings: $1,538,462
  • Potential earnings at the start of playoffs: $4,615,385
  • Potential earnings achieved: 33.33%
  • Average earnings for each player: $61,538

Pictured: Joe Thornton

Jim McIsaac/AP / Shutterstock.com

Carolina Hurricanes

  • Team’s total playoff earnings: $1,538,462
  • Potential earnings at the start of playoffs: $4,615,385
  • Potential earnings achieved: 33.33%
  • Average earnings for each player: $61,538

Pictured: Anton Forsberg

Matt Slocum/AP / Shutterstock.com

Boston Bruins

  • Team’s total playoff earnings: $2,769,231
  • Potential earnings at the start of playoffs: $4,615,385
  • Potential earnings achieved: 60.00%
  • Average earnings for each player: $110,769

Pictured: Brad Marchand

Jeff Roberson/AP / Shutterstock.com

St. Louis Blues

  • Team’s total playoff earnings: $4,615,385
  • Potential earnings at the start of playoffs: $4,615,385
  • Potential earnings achieved: 100.00%
  • Average earnings for each player: $184,615

Pictured: Justin Faulk

HE Photography / Shutterstock.com

MLB

No group of pro athletes stands to lose more due to the coronavirus pandemic than baseball players. While players in the NFL can at least hold out hopes that things will improve enough by the fall, and NBA and NHL players at least completed a majority of their seasons prior to seeing things shut down, baseball players were just arriving for spring training when it became clear that the regular season was not going to start on time — if at all.

It’s still possible the MLB will be able to hold a partial regular season and postseason, but if they don’t, here’s what each team would have received in playoff bonuses:

  • Wild-card losers: $1,212,917
  • Division series losers: $2,627,987
  • League championship series losers: $9,703,337
  • World Series loser: $19,406,675
  • World Series winner: $29,110,012

John Froschauer/AP / Shutterstock.com

Oakland A's

  • Team’s total playoff earnings: $1,212,917
  • Potential earnings at the start of playoffs: $29,110,012
  • Potential earnings achieved: 4.17%
  • Average earnings for each player: $15,932

Pictured: Matt Chapman, left, Matt Olson, center, and Jesus Luzardo

David Zalubowski/AP / Shutterstock.com

Milwaukee Brewers

  • Team’s total playoff earnings: $1,212,917
  • Potential earnings at the start of playoffs: $29,110,012
  • Potential earnings achieved: 4.17%
  • Average earnings for each player: $15,932

Pictured: Lorenzo Cain

John Minchillo/AP / Shutterstock.com

Atlanta Braves

  • Team’s total playoff earnings: $2,627,987
  • Potential earnings at the start of playoffs: $29,110,012
  • Potential earnings achieved: 9.03%
  • Average earnings for each player: $34,518

Pictured: Ozzie Albies

Mark J Terrill/AP / Shutterstock.com

Los Angeles Dodgers

  • Team’s total playoff earnings: $2,627,987
  • Potential earnings at the start of playoffs: $29,110,012
  • Potential earnings achieved: 9.03%
  • Average earnings for each player: $34,518

Pictured: Clayton Kershaw

Elise Amendola/AP / Shutterstock.com

Tampa Bay Rays

  • Team’s total playoff earnings: $2,627,987
  • Potential earnings at the start of playoffs: $29,110,012
  • Potential earnings achieved: 9.03%
  • Average earnings for each player: $34,518

Pictured: Ji-Man Choi

Frank Franklin II/AP / Shutterstock.com

Minnesota Twins

  • Team’s total playoff earnings: $2,627,987
  • Potential earnings at the start of playoffs: $29,110,012
  • Potential earnings achieved: 9.03%
  • Average earnings for each player: $34,518

Pictured: Miguel Sano, left, and Max Kepler

JUSTIN LANE/EPA-EFE / Shutterstock.com

New York Yankees

  • Team’s total playoff earnings: $9,703,337
  • Potential earnings at the start of playoffs: $29,110,012
  • Potential earnings achieved: 33.33%
  • Average earnings for each player: $127,453

Pictured: Gerrit Cole

Jeff Roberson/AP / Shutterstock.com

St. Louis Cardinals

  • Team’s total playoff earnings: $9,703,337
  • Potential earnings at the start of playoffs: $29,110,012
  • Potential earnings achieved: 33.33%
  • Average earnings for each player: $127,453

Pictured: Yadier Molina

Nick Wass/AP / Shutterstock.com

Houston Astros

  • Team’s total playoff earnings: $19,406,675
  • Potential earnings at the start of playoffs: $29,110,012
  • Potential earnings achieved: 66.67%
  • Average earnings for each player: $254,905

Pictured: Justin Verlander

David J Phillip/AP / Shutterstock.com

Washington Nationals

  • Team’s total playoff earnings: $29,110,012
  • Potential earnings at the start of playoffs: $29,110,012
  • Potential earnings achieved: 100.00%
  • Average earnings for each player: $382,358

Pictured: The Washington Nationals celebrate after winning Game 7 of the 2019 World Series against the Houston Astros.

More From GOBankingRates

Methodology: GOBankingRates looked at collective bargaining agreements and players playoff benefit pools across the four major U.S. professional sports leagues to determine how much players make for their league’s respective playoffs. Using these sources from Major League Baseball, the National Football League, the National Basketball Association and the National Hockey League, GOBankingrates found the following for each league’s most recent playoff teams: (1) total postseason earnings; (2) total potential postseason earning for each team; (3) percent of potential postseason earnings achieved; and (4) average postseason earning for each individual player. All data was collected on and up to date as of March 23, 2020.