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The 2022 NFL Fine Schedule Explained

When it comes to penalties in the NFL, there’s a fine line between minor on-field infractions and plays that could mean a major hit to a player’s paycheck.

Penalties are a part of the game. And unfortunately for players, so are fines.

From late hits and blindside blocks to fighting and throwing a football into the stands, the NFL makes no bones about the expectations it holds for its players in terms of conduct on the field.

While the 2022 season may still be young, the league has already handed out $12 million in fines, according to Spotrac.

Some of the fine money doled out so far comes from preseason play, but the bulk of it comes from players’ off-field behavior, such as “conduct detrimental to the team” and usage of performance-enhancing drugs.

Most notably, Cleveland QB Deshaun Watson will lose $632,500 in salary and was handed an additional fine of $5 million to go with an 11-game suspension after more than two dozen women accused him of sexual misconduct. The fine is the most money that the league has ever docked a player, and is also the second-largest overall fine in NFL history behind the $10 million the Washington Commanders had to pay for promoting a hostile work environment.

But there are also smaller penalties for much more minor offenses, like the $4,972 fine the league gave Commanders RB Reggie Bonnafon for taunting in a preseason game against the Carolina Panthers.

While fines related to off-field conduct can vary depending on the severity of the violation, the league has a well-defined fine schedule included in the Collective Bargaining Agreement with the NFLPA regarding what type of monetary fine it will hand out to players for plays and behavior while on the field.

Let’s have a look at the 2022 NFL Fine Schedule and what it means for players’ pockets in the seasons ahead.

Penalties and Fines for the 2022 NFL Season

This season is no different than any other. Penalties are going to happen and the league will hammer down on infractions accordingly.

In the 2021 season, the largest fine given to a player for on-field conduct was a $64,456 fine delivered to Dallas Cowboys defensive tackle Trysten Hill for fighting in a game against the Las Vegas Raiders.

This year the league will reportedly crack down on taunting, a fine that can cost a player nearly $10,000 for a first offense. But there’s so much more.

Here’s a sample of what penalties or violations will cost players this season for both first and second offenses:

  • Physical Contact with Official — 1st offense: $37,232 | 2nd offense: $74,468
  • Horse Collar Tackle — 1st offense: $15,914 | 2nd offense: $21,218
  • Late Hit — 1st offense: $10,609 | 2nd offense: $15, 914
  • Blindside Block — 1st offense: $15,914 | 2nd offense: $21,218
  • Fighting — 1st offense: $37,232 | 2nd offense: $74,468
  • Unsportsmanlike Conduct — 1st offense: $13,261 | 2nd offense: $18,566
  • Football into Stands — 1st offense: $7,426 | 2nd offense: $12,731
  • Unapproved Visor Tint or Lack of Brand Marks — 1st offense: $5,305 | 2nd offense: $10,609
  • Unauthorized Logo/ Branding or Intellectual Property — 1st offense: $10,609 | 2nd offense: $21,218

Click here for a full list of the violations and fines related to on-field conduct.

And it should be noted that all fines are considered minimums, meaning any mitigating or aggravating factors can result in even more money out of a player’s pocket.

Additionally, fines are expected to increase in the years to come. According to the NFL CBA, the designated minimum fine amounts will increase by 3% each year until the CBA expires in 2030.

This means a Late Hit penalty that costs $10,609 in 2022 will cost a player roughly $20,159 in 2030.

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NFL Fines Year Over Year

Over the last 10 years, the NFL has handed out nearly $214 million in fines related to 2,403 infractions, according to Spotrac.

The biggest year of fines came in 2016 when the league docked players $35.2 million for 306 infractions.

The 2021 season, however, saw the fewest fines — $7.1 million for 164 infractions. So yeah, the league has already charged players more money this season than it did all of last season.

Let’s have a look at the total number of fines and infractions for each year over the last decade.

YEAR# of INFRACTIONSFINE AMOUNT
202213 infractions$12,065,434
2021164 Infractions$7,133,057
2020153 Infractions$12,748,659
2019281 infractions$27,804,909
2018277 infractions$19,239,589
2017282 infractions$25,242,744
2016306 Infractions$35,216,430
2015178 Infractions$21,020,627
2014235 Infractions$25,720,690
2013254 Infractions$10,118,962
2012260 Infractions$18,398,081
All Fine Data is provided by Spotrac

Where Does NFL Fine Money Go?

No, the NFL does not pocket all of the fine money and squirrel it away in a treasure chest inside Roger Goodell’s office.

According to the NFL, since 2011 the league has used about $4 million a year in fine money to assist former players through the NFL Foundation.

The money is funneled to charities such as the NFL Player Care Foundation, which helps former players with medical, emotional, financial, social, and community issues, and the Gene Upshaw Player Assistance Trust, which helps players facing financial hardship, as well as those who wish to return to college to earn their degrees.

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