Louis Rees-Zammit's new contract explained: What new Kansas City Chiefs star could earn and his likely role

Everything you need to know about Louis Rees-Zammit's new deal with NFL superpower the Kansas City Chiefs.
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Former Wales rugby star Louis Rees-Zammit has landed his first NFL contract, signing with Super Bowl champions the Kansas City Chiefs. Rees-Zammit caused a stir in the ruby world when he walked away from the sport to pursue his American dream.

International rules in the NFL have allowed him to get an opportunity to impress Hall of Fame coach Andy Reid and his coaching staff this summer and beyond. Here we run you through what you need to know about Rees-Zammit's new contract and the role he may play at his new franchise.

Rees-Zammit's role with the Chiefs

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Rees-Zammit has been helped b the change in rules in the NFL, which have been introduced to help international players. The NFL are currently pushing into a number of new countries in a bid to expand the game, including Spain, where a game will be played next year, while franchises are being awarded marketing rights for a number of Central and Southern American and European countries.

As part of that, rules have been tweaked to allow teams to have a 17th practice squad spot exclusively for international players. Practice squad players can be elevated to the active game day roster three times per season before they must either be signed to the active roster or pass through waivers, which offers other teams the chance sign them. If no one takes up the offer, that player can be re-signed to the practice squad, and they are eligible to feature on the game day roster three more times before the same process repeats.

As for the role Rees-Zammit will likely play, it's no secret that the Chiefs are in the midst of a dynasty having just won their second consecutive Super Bowl. Rees-Zammit is not likely to see regular game time by any stretch, but he will have the chance to impress at practice, starting in April as OTAs kick off - that's essentially the start of pre-season.

The most likely role Rees-Zammit will play if he can get a game, be it in pre-season or beyond, is as a return specialist. That involves catching the ball from kick-off or a punt and running as far as possible before going out of bounds or being tackled. Interestingly, the NFL has just announced changes to kick-offs to encourage more returns following a Super Bowl that saw 13 kick-offs and not a single return.

How much will Rees-Zammit earn?

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The former rugby star will reportedly earn around £9,500 per week as a minimum if he makes it to the practice squad. That could total £170,000 per year unless he does make it to the 53-man roster, which is set late in the summer. In that case, he will earn £600,000 per year as a minimum wage.

Reports have claimed Rees-Zammit's new contract is for three years, and that 'some money is guaranteed'. On that topic, it's important to understand that American football contracts do not work the same way as football contracts in Europe. While European contracts are legally bounding, NFL players can be cut at any time and the team is not required to pay the whole contract. They are only required to pay the guaranteed part of the salary, which is agreed beforehand.

What Rees-Zammit has said

"It's always been on my mind," Rees-Zammit told Rob Maaddi of the Associated Press after he made his decision to quit rugby. "My dad has been a massive role model to me because he brought me up loving the sport. He played the sport when he was younger so it's quite easy to love the game because I've been watching it from such a young age. So, it's always been in the back of my head, but it's just amazing to finally do it now."

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