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The Coaching Salary for the NFL Defensive Line

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NFL teams have several coaches. The head coach manages the entire team, but other coaches manage different aspects of the team. Coaches include defensive coordinators, offensive coordinators, quarterbacks coaches, running backs coaches, and offensive and defensive line coaches. NFL coaches are some of the highest paid professions in the country, with most coaches in the league earning six figures or more.

Head Coach Salary

The average salary of an NFL head coach is about $3,226,563 in 2011, according to the NFL Salaries website. Defensive line coaches make less than this, though how much they earn varies significantly by team. For example, the lowest paid NFL head coach makes $1,250,000 as of 2011, while the highest paid head coach makes $8,000,000. The head coach is the highest paid coach on a team, so the defensive line coach who works for the lowest paid head coach makes less than $1,250,000.

Assistant Coach Salaries

Defensive line coaches are considered assistant coaches in the NFL. According to USA Today, the average salary for an assistant coach in the NFL is $350,000 to $375,000. However, some coaches, especially high profile coaches, earn significantly more. Some assistant NFL coaches earn up to $2,000,000 a year, according to USA Today.

Salary Cuts

In 2011, the NFL Players Association and team owners could not agree on a new labor contract, so the league experienced a lockout for about 4 months. During the lockout, teams were not allowed to meet, practice or work out at team facilities. According to USA Today, many assistant coaches in the NFL experienced significant salary cuts. At least 13 teams cut salaries for assistant coaches by 25 to 50 percent. The labor dispute ended in July 2011, and some coaches had their salaries reinstated, but some assistant coaches will earn less in the 2011-2012 season than they have in previous years.

Job Outlook

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the job outlook for coaches in general, including coaches at all levels, is positive, with a 25 percent growth in job opportunities projected between 2008 and 2018. However, competition to be an assistant coach in the NFL is very tough. Coaches typically have experience playing or coaching in the league before becoming an assistant coach. Some assistant coaches work as coaches at the college level before being offered a job in the NFL.


Chris Newton has worked as a professional writer since 2001. He spent two years writing software specifications then spent three years as a technical writer for Microsoft before turning to copywriting for software and e-commerce companies. He holds a Bachelor of Arts in English and creative writing from the University of Colorado.

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