This year, like last year, we sent a 13-question survey to active NFL scouts. We asked them several questions about their job, including pay, contracts, pension and other benefits. We also asked about which team they felt had the best draft last year, and we announced those results in Indianapolis.
We’ll break down the info we gathered on salaries, sorted by number of years in the league, in today’s Friday Wrap. Here’s a question-by-question look at the other info we gathered from scouts this year.
- As of Jan. 1, 2019, how many years have you been a scout, not counting any years spent as a scouting assistant or intern?: We got a pretty homogeneous mixture this year, with 28 percent of respondents having five years or less and 34 percent with 11 or more. The 6-10 and 11-14 groups split the remainder evenly. Last year, almost 90 percent of our respondents came from the three upper-tier groups, with just 11.6 percent from the 0-5 group.
- How long is your current contract?: This question might get struck next year. Last year, about 74 percent of respondents had two-year deals, while this year, 72 percent do. Last year, the bulk of scouts without two-year deals were on one-year contracts. This year, responses were split evenly between one year and three years, which I found unusual.
- Have you ever served in a director-level NFL role (Director of College, Director of Pro, DPP, AGM/GM)?: As last year, the overwhelming majority of respondents had no director-level experience (81 percent both years).
- Pension?: This offered a bit of good news, as the percentage of scouts with a pension actually ticked up slightly (58 percent over 56 percent last year). The perception across the industry is that pensions are disappearing, and that still may be true. As we continue with the survey, time will tell if this is really a trend.
- 401(k) match: The results here are really too diverse to read. We offered nine options on our survey, with no real consensus. The two biggest percentages are in basic match and five percent or less match (about 22 percent each). Last year, match up to a fixed (and not designated in our survey) match led the way with about 28 percent. The bad news: last year, only two percent of respondents had no match at all; this year, it’s more than 12 percent.
- Per diem: These numbers basically didn’t move. About 70 percent of the industry gets between $50-$60 per day.
- Car allowance: Not many scouts are driving around in company cars, with less than 10 percent checking that box each of the last two years. The majority of scouts seem to be getting $600-$700 (31 percent this year) or $700-plus (28 percent this year). Those numbers are similar to last year.
- Receipts/miles for gas: About two-thirds of scouts must turn in their receipts for reimbursement; those results are basically unchanged from last year. Among those that get paid per mile, the going rate is 41 cents per mile or higher for about 30 percent of respondents.
- Buy Super Bowl tickets?: These numbers didn’t change in any meaningful way. More than half (53 percent both years) don’t get a chance to buy. Of those that do, about 30 percent (both years) get to buy two, and a little less than 10 percent get to buy four. I’ve heard that some teams in military towns donate tickets to bases, which cuts back on the number available to scouts.
- Playoff share: Both years, about a third of respondents said playoff share is up to the owner’s discretion, while about another third get a 25 percent share. Last year, about a quarter got a half share, while this year that number fell to about 15 percent.
- Does your current contract make any provisions for a possible lockout?: Not good news here. Last year, only about a quarter of respondents reported provisions for a reduction in pay due to a lockout. This year, that percentage is up to almost half. Clearly, owners see storm clouds looming.
For a closer look at what scouts take home in actual pay, check out the Friday Wrap. It comes out at 7:30 p.m. EST, and you can register for it here.