Jonny Gray joined the Exeter Chiefs in 2020 after eight seasons in Scotland with the Glasgow Warriors.
This article looks at Jonny Gray’s salary. We’ll examine his current rugby contract, and what factors led to his ability to negotiate his high value.
We’ll look at how he compares with teammates at his club and with the players in the same position in other Premiership clubs.
What Is Jonny Gray’s Current Salary?
Jonny Gray’s salary is currently about £400K at Exeter Chiefs. This is over three times the average Premiership salary.
Gray signed his latest contract in 2020 to run up to mid-2022. Still in his late twenties, Gray should command a similarly high value in his next contract negotiations.
To put his age into context, Gray was born in 1994. The average retirement age for locks in the Premiership is thirty-five.
So, the Scotsman has plenty of more years left in the sport in his physical prime. That increases his value in contract negotiations.
There was strong speculation before Gray signed his most recent contract that he could be lured away from Exeter. He was previously linked in the media with a move to Bristol but chose the Chiefs instead.
His brother, Richie Gray, has played in France for Toulouse and Castres. This could also be an option for the younger Gray.
These kinds of credible rumours often lead to an improved package from a player’s current club.
How Does Jonny Gray Compare To Other Players?
It’s worth looking at two different comparisons:
- how Jonny Gray compares to other players at his club.
- how Jonny Gray compares to other locks in England.
Let’s start with the club.
Is Jonny Gray the highest-paid player at Exeter Chiefs?
Despite his high salary, Jonny Gray is not the top-earning player at his club. Interestingly, a fellow Scot holds that position.
Fullback Stuart Hogg is reputedly earning about £150K more than Jonny Gray. The other high earner is Englishman Henry Slade earns about £50K more than the lock.
You can find more details here:
How does Gray compare to other locks in England?
Jonny Gray is about the same age as Maro Itoje but the English lock earns twice his salary.
Gray is more on a par with England international Joe Launchbury. But he earns more than veteran second row Courtney Lawes.
You can read more in this article:
What Factors Contribute To Jonny Gray’s High Salary?
In our overview of salaries in English rugby, we estimate that the average salary in the Premiership is about £120K per year.
That level of pay can be expected by the many experienced players in the Premiership who never quite made it to international level.
But Jonny Gray got his first cap for Scotland in the Autumn internationals of 2013 when he was just nineteen years old.
He has been a regular starter for Scotland since then, with only injury keeping him on the sidelines.
No Lions tours
One difference between Jonny Gray and higher-earning locks in England is that Gray has never been selected for a British and Irish Lions tour. That recognition also adds a premium to a player’s value.
Many felt that Gray’s form warranted inclusion on the 2021 tour to South Africa. To be fair to Warren Gatland, there were eight other Scots selected for that squad.
Plenty of leadership
Jonny Gray was only twenty-one when Glasgow Warriors made him club captain. That is a clear sign that his leadership was recognized.
He would later step aside as captain but he stayed in the leadership group.
There’s no doubt that Exeter Chiefs would put a premium value on leadership when considering contracts.
Jonny Gray is known for his high tackle rate. Not only does he put in a huge amount of tackles per match, but his miss rate is also very low.
One rugby statistics company tallied up his tackle rate from his time with Glasgow Warriors. Opta found that he missed a paltry 30 tackles out of 1,433 in his career at the time.
Those are the kind of figures that add value to contract negotiations.
Playing in the second row
Position on the field is another factor that plays a major part in player salaries.
Esportif are sports agents who publish statistics for which positions earn the most in the Premiership. This is the list in descending order:
- Locks (either 4 or 5)
- Tighthead prop
- Centres (12 or 13)
- Blindside flanker
- Loosehead prop
- Openside flanker
Some highly paid locks switch between second and back row, but Gray has played consistently at lock forward.
As you can see in the list above, locks are one of the higher-valued positions in the Premiership.