How Much Money Do First Round NFL Draft Picks Make?

How much money do first round NFL draft picks make? It’s a question that many fans and aspiring players alike wonder. According to recent data, the average first round pick in the NFL draft will earn a salary of $5.03 million.


In the National Football League (NFL), the draft is the process by which teams select eligible players for their rosters. The draft order is determined based on the previous season’s standings, with the team with the worst record receiving the first pick.

The NFL Draft originally had nine rounds; it was reduced to eight rounds in 1994 and to seven rounds in 1995. In 2015, the NFL Draft consisted of seven rounds, with a total of 256 selections. In 2017, it was announced that the draft would return to consisting of seven rounds, but with an additional — compensatory picks at the end of round seven for a total of 253 selections.

The amount of money each pick in the first round will make is based on the NFL’s Rookie Wage Scale, which is a slotting system that assigns salaries as a percentage of the salary cap for each draft position. The player’s agent and team negotiate a contract within this salary range. For example, in 2016, Jalen Ramsey, who was drafted fifth overall by Jacksonville, signed a four-year deal worth $23.35 million with a $15 million signing bonus; while Laremy Tunsil, who was drafted 13th overall by Miami, signed a four-year contract worth $12.58 million with a $3.19 million signing bonus. The difference in salary and signing bonus between these two players comes to just over $10 million dollars.

Average Salaries of First Round NFL Draft Picks

The average salaries of first-round NFL draft picks have skyrocketed in recent years. In 2018, the average salary for a first-rounder was more than $10 million. That’s a far cry from the $400,000 that first-rounders earned in 1990.

Here’s a look at the average salaries for first-round NFL draft picks over the past decade:

2018: $10,098,000

2017: $9,700,000

2016: $9,016,000

2015: $8,681,000

2014: $8,154,000

2013: $7,687,900

2012: $7,283,600
2011: $6,886,600

2010: $6,377,200 2009: $5,849,500

NFL Rookie Salary Cap

In the NFL, a team’s rookies are subject to a salary cap. The NFL Rookie Salary Cap is the amount of money that can be spent on first-year players. The rookie wage scale was introduced in the new collective bargaining agreement (CBA) between the NFL and its players, which was signed in 2011. The rookie wage scale is a set of guidelines that determines how much each pick in the NFL Draft will make. Under the current CBA, the NFL Rookie Salary Cap for 2019 is $495,000.

The NFL Rookie Salary Cap is based on the total amount of money that is available to be spent on all rookies, regardless of position. The salary cap for rookies was $325,000 in 2010, and it rose to $345,000 in 2011. In 2012, the rookie salary cap increased to $420,000. The 2013 rookie salary cap was $525,000. In 2014, it rose again to $610,000. For 2015-2017, the salary cap for rookies was $665,000. In 2018, it rose to $680,000. And finally in 2019, it reached its current level of $495,000.

The amount of money that each pick makes under the rookie wage scale is determined by where they are drafted in the NFL Draft. The first overall pick in the draft will make more money than any other player selected in that year’s draft class. As you move down through the draft order, each subsequent pick will make less money than the one before them. However, even those players selected at the very end of the draft will still make a significant amount of money compared to most other people in America.

How Much Do First Round NFL Draft Picks Make in Signing Bonuses?

In recent years, NFL rookies have received large signing bonuses as a result of the NFL’s rookie wage scale. In 2018, the average signing bonus for a first-round pick was more than $11 million. Here is a breakdown of the signing bonuses for each pick in the first round of the 2018 NFL Draft:

1. Baker Mayfield, Browns: $32 million
2. Saquon Barkley, Giants: $31 million
3. Sam Darnold, Jets: $30 million
4. Denzel Ward, Browns: $29 million
5. Bradley Chubb, Broncos: $27 million
6. Quenton Nelson, Colts: $23 million
7. Josh Rosen, Cardinals: $20 million
8. Roquan Smith, Bears: $18 million
9. Tremaine Edmunds, Bills: $16 million
10. Derwin James, Chargers: $15 million

How Much Money Do First Round NFL Draft Picks Make in Their First Year?

In their first year, first-round NFL draft picks make an average of $10 million. This includes a base salary of $885,000, a signing bonus of $5.4 million, and other bonuses and deferred payments that can total up to $3.6 million. In all, the average first-year earnings for a first-round pick are about $9.7 million.

How Much Money Do First Round NFL Draft Picks Make in Their Career?

In recent years, first round NFL draft picks have been making an increasingly large amount of money. In 2018, the average first round pick made just over $12 million dollars. However, the top pick in the draft (Baker Mayfield) made over $33 million dollars. So how much money do first round NFL draft picks make in their careers?

The answer may surprise you. While the average first round pick does make a lot of money in their rookie year, they don’t necessarily see that same level of earnings throughout their career. In fact, the average NFL career only lasts for about 3 years. So while first round draft picks may make a lot of money in their first few years in the league, they don’t necessarily go on to earn huge salaries later in their careers.


In conclusion, first round NFL draft picks make a lot of money. Their salaries vary depending on their position, but the average is about $5 million per year. While this may seem like a lot of money, it’s important to remember that these players are risking their bodies for our entertainment and deserve to be compensated accordingly.

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