Titans' pay schedule strays from the norm

NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- The NFLPA is considering asking the NFL to pay out annual salaries over the course of the entire year as opposed to over the course of the season.

It's a change that might help young guys dealing with big money for the first time pace themselves when it comes to spending. That would be healthy even if the side effect is teams get to hold their money longer, earning interest on it.

"It's not a bad idea," said Titans cornerback Jason McCourty, the team's union rep. "For guys with high enough salaries it's not a big deal, but this is trying to make a decision based on the majority, and there are a lot of guys with those lower-end salaries -- which is awesome money regardless -- trying to manage that money and looking at those huge paychecks, you're kind of more inclined to spend more money opposed to having it spaced out."

Most teams pay players their base salaries over the 17-week regular season, though it's clearly not required because the Tennessee Titans do it different. Some contracts around the league pay out differently than the 17-week distribution, but it's not clear if any other teams beside the Titans stray from that standard formula with the bulk of the roster.

The Titans' pay schedule is a step closer to where the PA may be heading.

Titans making minimum salaries -- rookies or veterans -- do get paid in 17 installments.

But veterans making more than the minimum have their money distributed in a different way.

The Titans divide the overall salary by 24, and make 13 payments from mid-September through mid-March. That accounts for about 54 percent of a player's salary. The remaining 11 payments and 46 percent arrive in a lump sum at the end of March.

Earlier in the team's history, the team's payments were basically year-round, but the move to the March lump sum was probably made to ease tax complications and keep things within a fiscal year. It's the way the team has paid players for as long as anyone remembers and it's believed to have started based on the cash-flow of late owner Bud Adams.

"It manages your money for you in a sense," McCourty said. "I like it and I'm used to it because that's what we've been forced to do."

As for year-round pay, which the union will likely vote on next spring at its annual meetings, McCourty said:

"I definitely think it's a good idea, even if you start with just the young guys and show them and kind of teach them, and guys as they become vested can opt out of it. But I think it's a good idea. Whether we go with it or not, it's something to look at and seriously consider."