The Washington Redskins, whose player payroll was among the highest in the National Football League two years ago, were among the lowest-paying teams in the NFL last season, according to statistics compiled by the NFL Players Association.
The Redskins' average base salary of $150,000 per player ranked 23rd among the 28 league teams; the league-wide average base salary was $162,600. The Redskins' average salary of $164,300 ranked 26th; the league average was $188,000.
In 1984, the Redskins ranked ninth in average base salary and 15th in average salary. The year before, when only average base salary was compiled, they ranked sixth.
The Redskins' drop in player salary ranking is in keeping with the profile of a team in transition from an older, veteran squad to one with younger, newer players.
Average salary includes signing, roster and reporting bonuses plus base salary paid in 1985, but does not include deferred payments. As a result, two teams -- Denver and Miami -- had lower average salaries than average base salaries because of deferred payments.
The list of average base salaries and average salaries was compiled by the NFLPA and was published in the Lawdible, an NFLPA newsletter that reports salary information and trends, but not individual salaries of players.
The San Francisco 49ers, the 1985 Super Bowl champions, had the highest base salary last season: $208,000. The Los Angeles Raiders had the highest average salary: $237,000.
Meanwhile, it was reported by the Baltimore Sun that 19 players on last season's Redskins team earned base salaries of $200,000 or more. The newspaper said that running back John Riggins had a base salary of $715,000 and received a $100,000 signing bonus, running back George Rogers had a $450,000 base salary and quarterback Joe Theismann a $405,000 base salary.
The newspaper said the salary figures were part of a three-page salary survey prepared by the NFLPA and distributed to the players at the end of the season. Such a survey is compiled by the NFLPA and distributed to each NFL player on a team-by-team and position basis. It is supposed to be confidential but usually has been leaked to the media since it first was published annually in 1977.
Yesterday, sources said that some of the data -- perhaps as much as 20 percent -- was not up to date, because copies of new contracts have not been received by the NFLPA from the NFL Management Council.
For instance, it was reported last year that all-pro wide receiver Art Monk, then going into the final year of his contract, had agreed to a new long-term agreement that would nearly triple his salary. But his salary is listed at $195,000 -- his old figure.
In some cases, one source said, the total salary package is misleading because of performance incentive clauses that, in one case, added almost 40 percent to a veteran defensive player's income.
Neither Redskins owner Jack Kent Cooke nor General Manager Bobby Beathard was available for comment.