How Much Do Free Jacks Rugby Players Earn? (2023)

This article looks at the salaries of New England Free Jacks players in Major League Rugby.

It’s true that individual salaries are private contracts. However, leaks happen and details are shared.

We’ve gathered and reviewed all the information from credible sources.

How Do New England Free Jacks Players Get Paid?

Before we crunch the numbers, let’s review the different ways that players can get paid. It’s not just through club wages.

Their entire compensation may come from several sources. Note that some players are only compensated with wages. The other options on this list will only apply to a selection of players.

  • Monthly club wage
  • Discounted accommodation (i.e. reduced or minimal rent)
  • Coaching roles
  • Assistance with gaining off-season jobs and income
  • International caps (match fees are not paid by the club)


Players have availed of shared accommodation arranged by the franchise.

This is popular with younger players. At one time, up to ten young Free Jacks were sharing a large house near the club grounds.

This is very similar to what happens in England and Ireland with players in the club academies. Although I’ve never heard of so many sharing in one house.

But in general, the properties across the Atlantic are a lot smaller!

Coaching roles

coach giving instructions

Senior players may be offered coaching roles within the club.

That doesn’t necessarily mean that they are involved in coaching their New Jacks teammates. This may be youth coaching or assisting with local amateur clubs.

Tadhg Leader is an example of a player who is also a coach at Free Jacks.

Leader’s role is as a community development coach. The fly-half is heavily involved in the youth and schools programs run by the franchise.

Assisting with employment or other income in the off-season

It’s generally accepted that many MLR clubs assist some players in getting jobs outside the competitive season.

This often depends on the contacts and business interests of the club owners.

Some owners of other franchises run the types of companies that can provide casual employment that doesn’t require specialist skills.

However, the majority owner of the Free Jacks is an investor who specializes in biotechnology. Actually, that could also benefit the talented Tadhg Leader. He recently completed his MBA.

You can read more in our article on the owners of the New England Free Jacks.

How Did Covid Impact Salaries?

The 2020/21 Major League Rugby season was shortened due to Covid restrictions. The tournament was canceled just five weeks into the season.

It’s a credit to the league that they paid their players for the season despite the shutdown.

Cynics might point out that the salaries are very low in the MLR.

But that doesn’t mean that the franchise owners shouldn’t get credit for treating their players well in a tough time for everybody.

What Do Free Jacks Rugby Players Get Paid?

Unlike some other franchises, the Free Jacks haven’t focused on signing big-name players from overseas.

They do have some talented players from the southern hemisphere alongside players from Ireland and the United Kingdom. But none of these players had a lot of caps at the top level of their domestic competitions.

If you check out our general overoview of salaries in the MLR, you’ll see that the star players can earn up to $45K.

Average salaries for rugby players with New England Free Jacks

The senior players at New England Free Jacks earn from $25K-$30K per season.

Mid-range players with several years experience earn from $14K-$20K per season.

Less experienced players are paid about $10K for the season. Some are on pay-to-play on an hourly minimum wage.

major league rugby salary ranges

These salaries may seem low. But bear in mind that the contracts are for the MLR season, not for the year. The season runs for about seven months.

Other sources of income

The franchise allows players to work in the off-season. In some cases, they will assist in securing employment.

Younger players can also live almost rent-free if they share housing arranged by the club. This will not suit players with partners and children. But players with families can also get some level of rent subsidy.

The salary cap rules allow the franchise to pay extra income to player-coaches.

As I mentioned earlier, out-half Tadhg Leader is one example of a player-coach. Leader coaches both at the academy level and also with some local amateur clubs.

MLR Salary Cap

Major League Rugby franchises are not allowed to exceed an agreed cap on the total salaries for their squad. The level is currently $500K.

Any franchise can increase its cap by participating in a set of player and community development activities. You can read more in our general article on MLR salaries.

New England Free Jacks hit the targets laid out by MLR.

This includes having an academy program with regional training groups throughout the wider New England area.

New Jacks also have junior teams for high school boys and girls at under-16 and under-18 levels during the summer months.

Meeting the development targets means that their cap increases by $250K.

sign showing maximum

However, the extra budget can’t go directly on player salaries. However, they can play extra income to players who are also coaching at the franchise or in the community.

How Do New England Free Jacks Afford These Salaries?

You may be wondering if the gate receipts are enough to cover player salaries. The answer is that they’re not.

The majority owner of the franchise is a venture capital investor. Two NFL players are minority owners. This helps with the budget!

You can read more in our article on the ownership of New England Free Jacks.

How Does This Compare With Other Leagues?

There are several South African players at the franchise. If you’re curious about what they’d earn at home, check out our article on salaries for rugby players in South Africa.

Two players came from the same province in Ireland. Check out our article on how much Connacht rugby players earn.

You may also be curious about salaries for rugby players in the England Premiership.