San Francisco 49ers punter Mitchell Wishnowsky is 30 years old, but he is in only his fourth year in the NFL. Although his journey to the league was unusual, it ended up being extremely lucrative.
Earlier this month, Wishnowsky signed a four-year contract extension that is worth up to $13 million. As BossHunting.com noted, that is significantly more money than what he would have made if he didn’t switch styles of football.
Let’s break it down.
Wishnowsky, born in a suburb of Perth, Australia, grew up playing Aussie rules football. The game is inherently different and basically combines rugby with soccer.
After repeated shoulder injuries, Wishnowsky had to give up the sport at 18 years old, but continued to play a non-contact version. Meanwhile, he dropped out of school and started work as a glazier/glasscutter.
However, one day in 2013, Wishnowsky left his job and moved to Melbourne to try and get in on the Australian punter wave across American football. He enrolled at Prokick Australia, a training program that converts Aussie rules players into gridiron football punters and eventually earned a scholarship at Utah.
While with the Utes, Wishnowsky had three incredible seasons and was named the Ray Guy Award-winner in 2016. As a result, he was drafted in the fourth round of the 2019 NFL Draft, which is pretty early for a punter.
The decision has paid off for San Francisco thus far. Wishnowsky has averaged 45.5 yards per punt on 179 punts and put 72 of them inside the 20-yard-line.
The move from Aussie rules football to American football has also paid off for Mitch Wishnowsky.
He could either:
- Be playing Aussie rules football
- Be working as a glazier
- Punt in the NFL
Now, I am unfamiliar with the average yearly salary of a glazier. However, I would venture to guess that it is not as much as $13 million over four years. That paid off.
As for an Aussie rules football player, it is not even close. Dustin Martin is the highest-paid player in the Australian Football League. He makes about $800/900,000 in American dollars per year.
Wishnowsky would not be the highest-paid player in the league. That means that by playing in the NFL instead of the AFL, he is making nearly four times the amount of money for a job that requires much less work. Great decision.