How Much Do NFL Draft Picks Make

The NFL draft. It’s one of television’s biggest non-competitive sporting events, with ratings that beat out NBA playoff games. The annual draft is when pro teams fill their rosters with fresh talent, selecting top college players from around the country and from around the world. Eligibility for the draft is simple. A player needs to be at least three years out of high school. Rules don’t stipulate that you have to attend college during that time, but most who are drafted are college players. There are some exceptions where players can enter the draft a bit early, but those cases are rare. Every spring, all 32 NFL teams battle it out over the course of three days and seven rounds of selection to fill their teams with a new batch of young players. For the 2018 draft, over 16,000 college football players were draft-eligible, but less than 2 percent of them actually made it to the NFL.

College players drafted

. 255 players were drafted from college, and one player was instead playing professional rugby in Australia. But even if you do land one of those highly-coveted spots, not all draft recruits are considered equal when it comes to pay. There are sizeable gaps in pay when you compare first-round talent to seventh-round talent. A player drafted dead last can have a full four-year contract worth less than a fraction of a first-round talent signing bonus alone. But even players all chosen in the first round can face pretty big pay disparities in the range of millions of dollars.

The money behind the NFL Draft

Before the NFL draft became a premier television event, the battle for new players was fought behind closed doors and in hotel banquet halls. But in 1936, then-NFL league commissioner Bert Bell decided to formalize the process when he rolled out the NFL draft. To Bell, the draft was a way to even the playing field for teams that continue to have losing records. Similar to today, teams with the worst records would pick first in each round, and eventually the teams with winning records, or those that had won the NFL championship, would pick last. At that time, there were only nine teams and a total of 81 total draft picks. By 1959, the NFL’s popularity was at its highest ever, raking in television ratings of over 45 million people for its championship game between the Baltimore Colts and the New York Giants.

That attracted wealthy businessmen to want to get in on the NFL. But when they appealed to the NFL to let them start new teams or buy franchises, they were turned down. That had a lot to do with why the American Football League was founded by Lamar Hunt in that same year. On November 22nd, 1959, the AFL hosted its first ever draft. Unsurprisingly, there was a lot of overlap between the NFL and AFL picks, and the two leagues also poached talent from one another. That’s a big reason why, in the 1960s, the NFL and AFL merged. The result was the modern-day NFL with its two conferences: the NFC and AFC. And this was also the birth of the Super Bowl era for the NFL and the modern NFL draft. Each year, when the college football season comes to an end in January, the journey to the NFL begins. It’s a short four- to five-month path to draft night, but there’s a lot that goes into transitioning from a college player to an NFL player. A lot more than their collegiate stats.

Training NFL combine college pro days

There is training, the NFL combine, the college pro days, visiting NFL teams, and finding the right agents. That all comes with a pretty hefty price tag. According to ESPN, the cost of getting drafted can easily surpass one hundred thousand dollars. While, yes, some players are surefire first-round or second-round picks, for other college players who aren’t guaranteed a top-paying contract or any contract at all, those recruiting costs can be staggering. There are seven rounds in the draft, with a total of 256 draft picks. And the entire draft doesn’t happen all in one night. It gets split up into three days.

Day 1 Day 2 Day 3 Round 1

But the first round is the most important. It is treated as the opening night for the new NFL season and is one of the biggest live events on television. It comes after months and months of mock drafts by sports analysts and commentators to decide who is going to be the top pick. General managers, coaches, and scouts have spent months narrowing down a list of the players that they want to either pick or trade for in the first round. The second and third rounds are held the next day, and the final four rounds are held on the third and final day of the draft. As for players, the order in which they are picked is key to how much they make. Even if you’re drafted in the first round, not all first-round picks offer the same amount of cash for college players.

Draft stock

Each player has a draft stock, which is sort of an unofficial ranking. It plays a big role in helping teams decide if they want you or not. But your draft stock isn’t just based on how well you play. Just take Laremy Tunsil, the offensive tackle for the Miami Dolphins. An hour before the start of the 2016 NFL draft, Tunsil was considered a top-five pick. But just 13 minutes before the draft, Tunsil’s Twitter was hacked and broadcasted a video of him, well, in an unflattering light. It’s not a good look if you’re planning to become a top-five draft pick. Tunsil’s draft stock fell, and he was eventually taken by the Miami Dolphins as the 13th overall pick in the first round. While yes, he was still drafted in the first round, according to NPR, Tunsil apparently missed out on six to eight million dollars on his contract. That’s because what you make is directly tied to the order in which you are picked in a given round. The sooner you are chosen, the higher the salary. Once draft night comes to a close, it’s time to sign on the dotted line for a player’s first NFL contract. Up until 2011, because of the way negotiations were run, the league offered pretty flashy and over-the-top deals for players who weren’t always able to deliver on the field. That changed thanks to the NFL’s current collective bargaining agreement and new caps on rookie contracts.

Timing 2. Salary 3. Bonus

There are three main components of each rookie contract: timing, salary, and bonus. All drafted rookies require a minimum of four years on the team. Unlike veteran players, new recruits can’t renegotiate the terms of their deal during the course of their first contract.

Rookie wage scale

The NFL also transitioned to a rookie wage scale to determine player salaries and bonuses. With this new scale, contracts are pretty much based on the order in which you’re picked in the draft, leaving little to no room for negotiation. The wage scale always starts with the biggest salary and subsequently scales back from there. Unsurprisingly, the top deal goes to the first pick of the first round of the draft. And with each pick that follows, the contracts get smaller and smaller. Wage calculations are based on the total rookie compensation pool, a number that’s pegged to the league salary cap.

Here’s how the math works:

Here’s how that math works: In 2019, the NFL salary cap is set at 188.2 million dollars. That’s the total amount of money each team in the NFL is allowed to spend on salaries for both veterans and rookie players. The percentage that goes to rookies or each team’s cut of the total compensation pool varies based on the team’s cap space. A team’s salary cap space depends on the size of the contracts it’s given to existing players.

The bigger the contracts The smaller the cap space a team

The bigger the contracts, the smaller the cap space a team has. For example, the Colts had the highest cap space in the league in 2019 due to little spending in 2018, creating over 45 million dollars in cap space. Each team’s rookie pool varies based on salary caps, but it’s generally expected that rookies will be paid a minimum salary. ‘Over the cap’ estimates the rookie salary minimum for 2019 to be $495,000.

In the 2018 NFL draft, the Browns gave Baker Mayfield a four-year contract worth over $32 million with a signing bonus of over $20 million and a base salary of $480,000. Comparatively, the last player taken in the first round, Lamar Jackson, received a four-year contract for just under $10 million. The very last pick of the draft, Trey Quinn, received a four-year, $2.5 million contract.

Players who end up on the NFL practice squad are paid $8,000 per week during the regular season. Undrafted free agents can receive salaries similar to those of players drafted in the last round, with contract durations of three years and the freedom to choose their team.

The current collective bargaining agreement from 2011 is set to expire after the 2020 season. The NFL Players Association’s president, Eric Winston, has indicated that the new CBA will focus on player contracts, potentially leading to changes such as increased pay minimums for rookies, shorter contract durations, and a larger share of the NFL’s revenue.

About Anuj

Hey there, gamers! I'm Tony Stark , your go-to gaming guru with a passion for all things digital adventure. Join me as we explore the latest releases, uncover hidden gems, and level up our gaming expertise together. Let's dive in and make some epic memories in the world of pixels and polygons!

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