BOSTON — Eric Dickerson became the National Football League's highest-salaried player by moving from the Rams to the Indianapolis Colts in 1987, according to a report published Sunday.
Dickerson signed a contract for $1.4 million a year in salary for the next four years, along with a $341,000 signing bonus.
He was one of seven NFL players whose base salaries for the season were more than $1 million according to figures prepared by the NFL Players Assn. and published in the Boston Sunday Herald.
Seven of the 11 biggest salaries belong to quarterbacks, and 24 of the 34 highest-paid players are quarterbacks, running backs or receivers.
Overall, the average salary of the 1,683 players included on the survey was $211,506, up from $202,960 in 1986.
Quarterback Boomer Esiason, of the Cincinnati Bengals, followed Dickerson on the millionaires' list, earning $1.2 million this year.
Those with $1-million salaries were Jim Kelly of Buffalo, John Elway of Denver, Joe Montana of San Francisco, Walter Payton of the Chicago and Marc Wilson of the Raiders.
When salary and signing bonuses were combined, Elway led the way, averaging nearly $2 million a year on a contract which runs through 1993, the Herald reported.
Dickerson's total package averages slightly less than $1.5 million a year. Bo Jackson, Raider running back and Kansas City Royals outfielder, earns the same amount to play football. Some of the top bargains included New York Giants tight end Mark Bavaro, whose base salary is $160,000, and Ram running back Charles White, who is at $150,000.