This spring, we took on the tough task of asking active NFL scouts and evaluators to fill out a completely anonymous survey asking them about their respective salaries and benefit packages. Our aim was simple: we respect the job scouts do, we were curious, we thought it would be helpful, and shoot, no one else was doing it.
Before we presented our results, we wanted to look at what assistant coaches make. Though no one is comparing the heat head coaches and GMs have to take to what scouts face, assistant coaches typically work in greater anonymity and deal a lot more with pure football than others. For that reason, they seemed like the closest parallel.
Figuring out what they make isn’t easy. This article seems to set the floor for assistant coaches at around $300,000, or about double what most senior area scouts make. That seems about right, though we’ve not been able to research it thoroughly.
Here’s what our survey told us about today’s area scouts.
- 6-10 years’ experience: We got 13 responses from scouts who’ve been in the league between six and 10 years. All but one were on two-year deals, the de rigeur contract length for most evaluators. Only one reported having served or presently serving in a director-level role (Director of College Scouting, Pro Director, Director of Player Personnel or AGM/GM). There was a wide variety of salaries: one made less than $50K last year; one made less than $65,000; two others were between $65,000 and $80,000; three made between $80K and $100K; two were between $100,000 and $125,000; and four made $125,000 or more despite having a decade or less in the game. More than half (seven) are employed by a team with a pension plan; all have at least some form of 401(k) match, with most (four each) either having a five percent team match or a match up to an unknown amount. Standard per diem (10 of 13 surveyed) was between $50-$59 while on the road, and car allowances were all over the map, ranging from none to a company car to various car allowances ranging mostly between $500-$700.
- 11-15 years’ experience: Ten scouts with 11-15 years in the business responded. Their respective lengths of contract were divided pretty evenly between one (3), two (4) and three years (3), and none had served in an executive role. One, surprisingly, made less than $50,000 in the last year. Three made between $100,000 and $125,000 per year, and the rest (6) were at $125K or more. Six of 10 had no pension plan; five of 10 made 3-5 percent match on their 401(k); and six made $50-$59 on per diem. Six of 10 had a car allowance of $600 or more.
- 16 years or more: We had 14 respondents to our survey in this bracket. Eleven of 13 are on two-year deals. Most (8) had some director-level experience on their resume. When it comes to salaries, there was surprising diversity. Though nine of 14 are making $125,000 or more and three are in the $100K-$125K range, one scout fell in the $65,000-$80,000 range and another was in the $80,000-$100,000 range. Eleven of 14 have some form of pension; seven of 14 have a 401(k) match up to an unspecified match (four have basic match, while one each have 3 percent, 5 percent and ‘other). Nine of 12 make a per diem rate of $50-$59 (the others, $49 or less) and most (8) make $600 and up for a car allowance.
We’ll compile the answers to our other questions regarding playoff shares, Super Bowl tickets and contracts with lockout stipulations (among others) in the pages of ITL, or here, soon. In the meantime, we hope this provides a snapshot of scouting salaries that may not be comprehensive, but at least better than nothing.