NFL Rookie Salary (Updated 2024): How Much Do NFL Draft Picks Get Paid?

How much do NFL Draft picks get paid? Here is everything you need to know about rookie contracts.

Soon, teams across the league will be handing out new contracts once the 2024 NFL Draft concludes.

The recipients of those deals? The incoming 2024 rookie class. How much will draft picks get paid once they hear their names called on the podium?

Details on How NFL Draft Picks Get Paid: Is It by Round?

Not every future rookie will have a deal that matches everyone else.

The only thing in common each pick will have is they’ll start with what’s now called an entry-level deal — which is worth four years. There is a fifth-year option involved, but that usually goes into effect before the final season of their rookie contract.

So how does the rookie pay scale work across the league? And is there a ceiling?

Long story short, the higher the pick, the higher the salary. So, for projected first-rounders like Caleb Williams, Jayden Daniels, Drake Maye, Marvin Harrison Jr., or even potential late-rounders like Chop Robinson and Cooper DeJean, here’s how the scale works:

  • Top overall pick: The total value for the first selection of the draft is $37,955,071 in total value. This includes a signing bonus of $24,603,688.
  • Lowest first-round pick: The value becomes different for whoever is selection No. 32. That selection earns $11,817,816 in total value. The signing bonus is also different as that’s set for $5,594,775.

Perhaps the USC standout Williams, projected to go first overall, will sign a deal in the $37.9 million range. Since the league altered rookie deals, Trevor Lawrence owns the richest rookie QB contract for a first overall pick in this era — which was a $36.8 million deal for four years when he entered the league in 2021.

But how does it work for the rest of the rookies, more so for whoever gets selected at No. 33 overall and beyond? Here’s how the second- to seventh-round pay scales work for every rookie:

  • Second-rounders: The highest pick contract for the top second-rounder is $9.6 million in total value and $3.9 million in signing bonus. The lowest pick for the second round’s contract earns $6 million in total value and $1.4 million in signing bonus.
  • Third-rounders: The highest pick (No. 65) of the third round gets $5.7 million in total value and $1.2 million as a signing bonus. The lowest pick (No. 100) will earn close to $5.3 million in total value and then more than $857,000 in signing bonus.
  • Fourth-rounders: Top pick (No. 101) will get close to $4.6 million. They’ll receive approximately $510,000 for a signing bonus. The last fourth-round selection will be handed $4.35 million and $509,000 in bonus cash.
  • Fifth-rounders: The 136th selection can earn a $4.2 million deal with a $362,000 signing bonus. The final pick of the fifth (176th due to compensatory picks), earns close to $4.1 million and $245,000 in signing bonus.
  • Sixth-rounders: Pick No. 177 can sign a deal in the $4.050 million range with a signing bonus of more than $218,000. The final pick of this round, No. 220, is given $3.97 million to start followed by a $133,000 bonus.
  • Seventh-rounders: The first pick here (No. 221) starts with up to $3.95 million with a signing bonus of close to $117,000. The last pick, best known as “Mr. Irrelevant,” gets handed $3.9 million along with approximately $78,000 in bonus money.

This format wasn’t always the rookie scale. Turns out, a past rookie QB signing convinced changes across the way rookie contracts work now.

Which Rookie QB Helped Alter the Draft Contract Market?

Sam Bradford will be forever remembered as the reason behind the changes to rookie deals.

In 2010, the Oklahoma Sooners star went No. 1 overall to the St. Louis Rams. What was the contract he was handed? A whopping $78 million contract for six years with $50 million in guaranteed money.

KEEP READING: Can an NFL Draft Pick Refuse To Sign Their Contract?

The Bradford deal sparked changes to the Collective Bargaining Agreement the following year. On Aug. 4, 2010, changes began taking place with how much money teams can give their rookies.

Now, names like Williams, Daniels, Maye, and others are all but assured they won’t be starting with the money Bradford was given to start their NFL careers. They’ll likely start under the $40 million range.

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