PHOENIX, AZ - It's the nineteenth of August and at this point, every NFL team still has close to 90 players on their roster. That means there are close to 2,880 players still hoping to make the 53 man roster for one of the 32 teams.
The unfortunate thing is what I just mentioned: there's only room for 53 on the roster and eight on the practice squad. That's a total of 61 players per team or 1,952 guys who will still be in uniform after the August 31 cut deadline.
Doing the math, that means 928 guys who have made playing the NFL a lifelong dream, won't get that chance come September.
Initially, 1,184 guys will be cut between the roster cut down deadlines of August 27 and August 31. By the first deadline (August 2, each team has to have its roster trimmed to 75. That's 15 guys per team, or 480 guys, who have about a week left to suit up and say they played in the NFL.
By the second roster cuts (August 31), another 22 guys, or 704 guys, will be cut loose, essentially ending their dreams.
Within a few days, each team will sign eight players to its practice squad, meaning 256 guys will get another shot at playing in the NFL.
When all is said and done, there will be 1,952 players who actually make it in the NFL. Clearly a small number of guys who will have the chance to make a life's worth of income in just a few years in the league.
The problem is, not very many guys make it long enough to create that kind of wealth. In fact, the NFL Players Association says the average career length of a player is 3.3 years. The NFL tells us it's closer to six years. Either way, a career in the NFL is a relatively short one.
In 2013, the minimum salary for a rookie who makes the team is $405,000. A guy with one year of experience can expect to make $480,000 and with two years under your belt, $555,000.
Considering the average career lasts less than fpur years, you're not talking about a lot of money over a lifetime. Granted, it's still a lot of money, but at what cost? The NFL players association says the average life expectancy of an NFL player is 58 years old. Now that's a high price to pay to play the game you love.