Punt, pass, penny-pinch: NFL's Redskins live on the cheap


These football stars may make millions, but they spend like misers.

Several Washington Redskins are drawing attention for their frugal lives, which include driving old cars — in one case, a very old car — and sharing cheap apartments furnished with bric-a-brac furniture.

Washington Redskins running back Alfred Morris runs against Dallas Cowboys cornerback Brandon Carr at AT&T Stadium last Sunday.
Tim Heitman | USA TODAY Sports | Reuters

"You don't know how long you're going to play, you've got to save every dollar even though you are making a good salary," Redskins quarterback Kirk Cousins told the Wall Street Journal for an article about the penny-pinching pigskin players.

"You never know what's going to happen so I try to put as much money away as I can," said Cousins, who drives a 16-year-old GMC Savana passenger van that originally belonged to his grandparents, and who shared an apartment with an offensive lineman for three years.

Redskins running back Alfred Morris, whose base salary is $1.5 million, has a ride that is even less flashy than his starting QB's.

Morris rides his bike to work as often as he can. On other days, such as when it's too cold, Morris drives a 1991 Mazda 626. The Journal notes that he refers to the 24-year-old car as his "Bentley."

Andrew Walker, the managing editor of the Redskins' web site, shares a modest apartment with his long-time friend, linebacker Ryan Kerrigan, who last year inked a five-year contract extension that will pay him $57.5 million, and who still drives a Chevy Tahoe he bought in 2011.

"He makes most of his own meals, but when he does splurge, he's going to Chipotle," Walker told the Journal.

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Tom Compton, the lineman who lived with QB Cousins for several years, said the duo moved as rookies into a cheap apartment that they furnished with another teammate's unwanted, old furniture — which included a "hodge-podge" of items like a "green-couch, red chair, a ton of fake trees." And instead of forking over some money for professional movers, the lugged the furniture on their own.

The price-conscious Redskin players, whose team just won the NFC East championship, may get laughed at a bit by their more profligate teammates for their tight spending. But they also might end up getting the last laugh years from now.

A National Bureau of Economic Research study released in 2015 last year found that about one out of every six NFL players drafted between 1996 and 2003 filed for bankruptcy protection within 12 years of retirement.

And the financial troubles weren't limited to unsung players or those who only played for a short time.

"Bankruptcy rates are not affected by a player's total earnings or career length," a summary of that study noted. "Having played for a long time and been well-paid does not provide much protection against the risk of going bankrupt."

In response to the issue, the NFL last year began offering the "NFL Finance Boot Camp" to current players, who hear from retired players about ways to manage their spending and invest their savings.

"Professional athletes are very young, and they're inexperienced," Dana Hammonds, senior director of player affairs and development for the NFL Players Association, told website The Alert Investor last year.

"They have an incredible opportunity to make a lot of money over a short period of time. We want them to protect that."

Read the full Journal story here.