Anyone who argued that Oakland Raiders head coach Dennis Allen had plenty to work with in 2013 needs to take a look a this survey of total payrolls and average salaries posted by ESPN The Magazine in conjunction with Sportsintelligence. According to their data, the Raiders ranked 182 of 294 teams worldwide when looking at average salary of starting athletes on teams around the globe.
The average salary for Raiders starters in 2013 was $1,123,249. That is the second lowest average for an NFL team, just ahead of the Arizona Cardinals. Included in the 181 teams with a higher average salary than the Raiders are a number of European soccer clubs in some of the bigger leagues such as the English Premier League, Seria A (the top Italian league) La Liga (the top Spanish league) and the Bundesliga (top German league), but this should be no surprise. Soccer is the biggest sport in the world and the European leagues are superior to the rest.
But there are some other teams with a higher average salary than the Raiders that were somewhat shocking. These include the Rajasthan Royals, an Indian cricket team, and Guangzhou Evergrande, a Chinese soccer team. Just behind the Raiders at number 183 was the Yomiuri Giants, a Japanese baseball team.
Clearly the Raiders’ ranking will rise this year. In 2013, the team was completing the second season of a two-year purge of bad contracts. As a result, the starters were a rag-tag unit of castoffs from other teams, mostly on cheap one-year deals. But while it is understandable as to why the average salary was so low, it also proves a big point: the Raiders 2013 roster really was THAT bad. In fact, what’s sad is if the survey took into account the average salary for every player on the team and not just the starters, there is a good chance Oakland would have plummeted even further down the list.
Luckily for the Silver and Black, the days of being forced to pinch pennies on players are over. The only question that remains is whether or not the lack of financial restraints will result in a team that can actually compete for the playoffs.