NFL Draft: How much rookies are set to make on their initial contracts

A number of rookies are set to make an incredible amount of money following their position in the NFL draft. 

It’s the moment that they have waited their whole lives for and the day that their dreams came true, being drafted into the NFL after years of hard work.

And with that hard work comes the money that can pretty much set them up for life just off the back of their first contract, never mind the ones they could earn if they explode in the league. 

Still a pretty team-friendly deal

Ever since the 2011 Draft, which followed on from 2010 number one pick Sam Bradford pocketing a cool $78m, with $50m of it guaranteed, things have changed around the league when it comes to how much rookies are paid.

They certainly are paid incredibly handsomely, as the numbers below will show, but the figures have been drastically scaled back to make things a lot easier for teams drafting their next star.

It means for instance that if you have a young promising quarterback, you can stock up on talent around him instead to make the best of him whilst he’s still ‘cheap’, just look at Joe Burrow for the Cincinnati Bengals or Patrick Mahomes for the Kansas City Chiefs. 

Paid by pick number

Not every player gets the same amount though in their early stages, with the figures dropping the further down the draft you are taken.

So with that being said, let’s take a look at this year’s draft class and see just how much they are going to earn over the course of their rookie contracts:
All figures provided by Spotrac

1 – Travon Walker, Jacksonville Jaguars – $37,372,622

2 – Aidan Hutchinson, Detroit Lions – $35,713,386

3 – Derek Stingley Jr, Houston Texans – $34,657,529

4 – Ahmad ‘Sauce’ Gardner, New York Jets – $33,450,799

5 – Kayvon Thibodeaux, New York Giants – $31,339,038

6 – Ikem Ekwonu, Carolina Panthers – $27,568,051

7 – Evan Neal, New York Giants – $24,551,259

8 – Drake London, Atlanta Falcons – $21,534,467

9 – Charles Cross , Seattle Seahawks – $21,383,456

10 – Garrett Wilson, New York Jets – $20,554,004

11 – Chris Olave, New Orleans Saints – $19,271,875

12 – Jameson Williams, Detroit Lions – $17,461,789

13 – Jordan Davis, Philadelphia Eagles- $17,009,274

14 – Kyle Hamilton, Baltimore Ravens – $16,255,078

15 – Kenyon Green, Houston Texans – $15,953,416

16 – Jahan Dotson, Washington Commanders- $15,048,358

17 – Zion Johnson , Los Angeles Chargers – $14,746,678

18 – Treylon Burks, Tennessee Titans – $14,369,584

19 – Trevor Penning, New Orelans Saints – $14,143,317

20 – Kenny Pickett, Pittsburgh Steelers – $14,067,904

21 – Trent McDuffie, Kansas City Chiefs – $13,992,482

22 – Quay Walker, Green Bay Packers – $13,841,637

23 – Kaiir Elam, Buffalo Bills – $13,690,802

24 – Tyler Smith, Dallas Cowboys – $13,389,122

25 – Tyler Linderbaum, Baltimore Ravens – $13,238,286

26 – Jermaine Johnson II, New York Jets – $13,087,423

27 – Devin Lloyd, Jacksonville Jaguars – $12,936,606

28 – Devonte Wyatt, Green Bay Packers – $12,861,184

29 – Cole Strange, New England Patriots – $12,255,978

30 – George Karlaftis, Kansas City Chiefs – $11,935,481

31 – Daxton Hill, Cincinnati Bengals – $11,667,014

32 – Lewis Cine, Detroit Lions – $11,494,150

Now it’s not as if they will get this all in one go, for instance pick number 1 Travon Walker will have his contract broken down as a $24,360,089 signing bonus, and a 2022 cap hit of just $6,795,022.

And if you think those numbers look high, just keep looking all the way down the draft order, with ‘Mr Irrelevant’, the nickname given to the last player taken in the draft, still in a position to earn $3,746,417 in his rookie deal.

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