San Francisco 49ers safety Antone Exum earned $41,470 for each regular-season week in 2018. That's before taxes. Any fines the NFL slaps him with eats into that amount.

Exum was fined $53,482 on December 15 for an unnecessary roughness penalty that resulted from a hit on wide receiver DaeSean Hamilton during the 49ers' Week 14 victory over the Denver Broncos. That means when he opened his paycheck for that week's worth of work, including practices leading to the game, the amount read $0.00.

Why the hefty fine? Because it was Exum's second of the season. He was fined $26,739 for a hit on Kansas City Chiefs receiver Sammy Watkins during Week 3. That fine was later reduced to $5,000, according to NBC Sports Bay Area.

Exum will be staring at another zeroed-out paycheck for his week of work leading to and including the Week 17 matchup against the Los Angeles Rams. The NFL once again fined the 49ers safety $53,482 for a controversial unnecessary roughness penalty resulting from a hit on wide receiver Robert Woods.

At least one 49ers player believed Exum did his job on the play and felt the call by the official was unfair.

"It's just terrible," cornerback Richard Sherman said after the game. "He played by the rules. He did everything he could. He hit him in the strike zone, and you're still penalized. At this point, it's like you've either got to let him catch it and don't hit him hard or you've got to take guys' knees out.

"And the moment guys start taking guys' knees out and ending guys' seasons; you don't feel great doing that. You're taking food off somebody's table, but he's taking food off his own kids' table just hitting him how you're supposed to hit him.

"Now the league wants guys to get hurt. You want guys to go full speed and take somebody's knee out who's not looking at him. Nobody plays the game like that. Nobody wants to play the game like that, but that's what you're starting to force defenders to do.

"Once guys get tired of getting fined, guys are going to start playing that way."

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