NFL Draft pick salaries by round: Contract value, length and more

The NFL Draft will provide life-changing contracts for rookie players, but they won't make nearly as much as rookies of yesteryear.

2007 NFL Draft - April 28, 2007
2007 NFL Draft - April 28, 2007 / Richard Schultz/GettyImages

NFL franchises have become money-printing machines for their owners, and the financial success has trickled down throughout the league. Record-breaking media partnerships, Super Bowl commercial pricing, and Super Bowl viewership were reflected in an unprecedented increase to the 2024 salary cap spending limit.

While veteran players have enjoyed the spoils of escalating salaries, players on rookie contracts have seen their financial gains reduced.

First-round picks will have their lives changed forever during the 2024 NFL Draft, but they won't be nearly as wealthy as those who were drafted over a decade ago.

The Sam Bradford contract

In 2010, quarterback Sam Bradford, who was selected first overall by the St. Louis Rams, signed a six-year, $78 million deal with $50 million in guaranteed money. It remains the largest rookie contract in NFL history, and it likely won't be surpassed any time soon.

After Bradford's massive payday, the league's collective bargaining agreement introduced a restructured rookie wage scale with predetermined salaries.

In 2011, quarterback Cam Newton, who was selected first overall by the Carolina Panthers, received a fully guaranteed four-year contract worth $22 million — quite a steep drop from Bradford's deal.

What is the rookie wage scale?

There are very few negotiable items with rookie contracts since the implementation of the rookie wage scale. All rookie contracts are four years, with teams reserving the right to exercise a fully guaranteed fifth-year option for first-round picks after the third year of the deal. Players earn a predetermined salary that is tied to their draft position and the league's salary cap.

Under the current guidelines, drafted players cannot renegotiate or alter their rookie contracts before the end of their third contracted season.

San Francisco 49ers quarterback Brock Purdy's contract is the most glaring example of how the rookie wage scale can restrict a player. Purdy has led his team to a 17-4 record in 21 regular season games, two NFC Championship Game appearances, and a Super Bowl appearance. Yet, as the No. 262 pick in the 2022 NFL Draft, he is earning an average annual salary of less than $1 million. He cannot renegotiate his contract until the end of the 2024 season.

How much do contract values decrease per pick?

The value of each contract decreases with each selection. After a historic salary cap increase, the first overall pick in the 2024 NFL Draft is expected to earn a contract worth approximately $38.5 million. The last pick of the first round, No. 32 overall, is expected to be worth $12.1 million.

There is a steep decline in contract value during the first round, but the value of each contract is marginal after the fourth round. Mr. Irrelevant, the last pick of the 2024 NFL Draft, will receive a four-year contract worth $4.09 million. It's a relatively small decline from the last pick of the fourth round, who will receive $4.5 million.

2024 NFL Draft Salary Range by Round


Salary Range


$12.1 million - $38.5 million


$6.3 million - $9.9 million


$5.5 million - $6 million


$4.5 million - $4.8 million


$4.2 million - $4.4 million


$4.1 million - $4.2 million


$4.0 million - $4.1 million

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