NFL Rookie Salary in 2021 【Rookie Contracts & Drafts】 | CareerExplorer

NFL Rookie first draft Salary is minimum $ 660,000 Per Year.

nfl rookie salary

NFL Rookie first draft Salary is minimum $ 660,000 Per Year. The maximum salary given to an NFL Rookie player in the year 2021 was $ 6,600,000 (6.6 million). There was also a bonus of almost $ 24 million given to the player for signing a 4-year contract.

NFL Rookie Salary 2021:

EXPERIENCEANNUAL SALARY
Less than 2 years$ 660,000
More than 2 years$ 2,800,000
More than 5 years$ 6,600,000

Learn More: NFL Player Salary

The Procedure Behind NFL Rookie Contracts


Since 2011, the NFL Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) has widened the NFL rookie salary scale, by varying NFL rookie salary from one draft to another, making the salary of each rookie tied to the NFL rookie salary cap of the entire team. 

NFL draft picks contracts are signed for four years; hence, new salaries of NFL rookies are assigned in the 4th round draft pick salary by NFL. NFL first-round draft pick salaries of all drafted rookies should fit under the NFL rookie salary caps. What is the NFL rookie minimum salary, and the highest-paid rookie NFL salary within a team is decided by the management of the team, so they understand how much to spend on the ones they have picked, given the draft positions. This ensures the creation of a fair NFL draft pick pay scale. The minimum salary of an NFL rookie in 2021 is approximately $660 thousand. 

How much does a rookie football player make also depends on the NFL rookie signing bonus. If, for instance, the signing bonus is $12 million, then the money counted against the cap for each of the four years of the contract will be $3 million a year. How much do NFL rookies make per year may increase, since the annual increment allowed on the deal is up to 25%. Under this given criteria, NFL rookie salary can increase a year, despite the signed NFL rookie pay. How much do rookies make in the NFL can be explicitly negotiated upon in the third year of the signed contract. 

NFL Rookie Salaries in Different Rounds 2021:

Rounds Annual Salary
First $18.4 million
Second $6.9 million
Third $4.4 million
Fourth $3.3 million
Fifth $2.95 million
sixth $2.8 million
seventh $2.7 million

Read More: NFL Punter Salary

NFL rookie contracts have undergone a drastic downfall in the past year given the Covid-19 pandemic. With the cancellation of rookie minicamps and development programs, there were fewer NFL rookie contracts that were signed. 

NFL Rookie Wage Scale

Today, the NFL rookie salary can’t be severely negotiated – this has significantly reduced the rookies’ need to hire agents to get them the perfect paycheque to how much do NFL rookies get paid. Such a situation for the NFL rookie salaries and the rookies themselves has been created due to the league now functioning on a fixed NFL rookie wage scale. 

The wage scale works by determining the NFL rookie minimum salary and the NFL rookie salary for the highest-paid rookie by the top NFL draft pick getting the largest deal. The lower one goes down on the NFL draft pick pay scale, the lesser the NFL rookie salary gets.

The Aftermath of NFL Rookie Wage Scale

Due to the fixed NFL pay scale by round, the NFL rookie salary itself has significantly decreased over the years. Since the last two seasons, the restrictions enforced regarding the cap have resulted in teams radically tightening their wallets. Therefore, decreasing how much does an NFL rookie player makes. 

Keeping in mind such a scenario, take a look at the contracts signed issuing NFL rookie salary in the last five No.1 overall NFL draft pick salaries by round. The following list is prior to the wage scale: 

  • 2008, Jake Long, OT, Miami Dolphins, five years, $57.75 million
  • 2009: Matthew Stafford, QB, Detroit Lions, six years, $72 million
  • 2010: Sam Bradford, QB, St. Louis Rams, six years, $78 million
  • 2011: Cam Newton, QB, Carolina Panthers, four years, $22 million
  • 2012: Andrew Luck, QB, Indianapolis Colts, four years, $22 million

The NFL rookie pay scale was on a substantial rise before the implementation of such policies. However, after that, Newton was the first one to undergo the unpleasant aftermath of this. For him, it was a catastrophe waiting to happen, since the prevailing conditions forced him to sign a deal $50 million cheaper than those two signal-callers. Despite it all, the scales will ensure that NFL rookie salary remains consistent for the top-pick salaries in the future.

Learn More: NBA Rookie Salary

The Salary of NFL Rookie Today

In May 2021, The Colts were in the process of assigning their NFL first-round salaries. Kwity Paye was the 21st overall pick by Indianapolis, being the first player appointed to the NFL first-round draft pick salaries. As previously mentioned, he signed a contract of four years with his team. 

Paye’s rookie contract worth four years was estimated to be worth $13.6 million, including a $7.2 million bonus. The two sums give an overall total of Kwity Paye’s NFL rookie salary. 

A list released in May 2021 showed the first-round salary of NFL rookies, besides Paye, which were expected to be signed. The highest 2021 salary cap number was approximately $6.6 million, along with a $24 million signing bonus and a 4-year contract issuing $36 million in the name of Trevor Lawrence playing for Jaguars. Zack Wilson from the Jets was expected to receive $35 million assigned on his contract along with $22.9 million as his signing bonus. Trey Lance from 49ers, the third pick, was foreseen a promised bonus of $22 million with a signed contract of $34 million. 

In the middle of the picks, Mac Jones as the fifteenth pick, playing for the team ‘Patriots’ was anticipated to get $2.8 million as his 2021 salary cap number. His signing bonus should have been around $8.6 million, and his 4-year contract guaranteeing him his NFL rookie salary roughly worth $15.5 million. 

Read More: NFL League Minimum Salary

One of the rookies lower in the picks is Eric Stokes from Packers, standing on the 29th pick with nearly $2.1 million as his 2021 salary cap number, along with his contract expected to secure him a handsome amount of $11.9 million, and a signing bonus worth $6.6 million. The rookie with the last pick, the 32nd pick Joe Tyran from Buccaneers. His signing bonus was expected to pay him $5.4 million and his contract, $11.1 million. The 2021 cap number for Tyran was expected to be around $2 million. 

Written by Alisa Stewart

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