Nfl rookie contract scale

2019 NFL Draft First-Round Rookie Salary Projections: What Murray, Bosa And Williams Will Make

Kyler Murray with NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell after he was picked No. 1 overall by the Arizona . [+] Cardinals during the first round of the 2019 NFL Draft. (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)

The top of the NFL draft unfolded as expected, with Kyler Murray, Nick Bosa and Quinnen Williams the first three picks off the board. And then, like clockwork, the Oakland Raiders did the unexpected and picked defensive end Clelin Farrell at No. 4.

For Murray, it completes a stunning 12 months in which he went from the ninth pick in the MLB draft, by the Oakland Athletics, to Heisman Trophy winner with the Oklahoma Sooners to No. 1 pick by the Arizona Cardinals in the 84th NFL Draft. Murray must return $1.3 million of the $1.5 million signing bonus he received from the A’s last year (he forfeited the remaining $3.16 million of his bonus when he decided in February to enter the NFL draft).

Murray can afford the giveback: He is about cash in as the NFL ’ s top overall pick. Murray’s five-year contract with the Cardinals is expected to be worth $35.2 million, including a $23.6 million signing bonus, according to an NFL insider. His total 2019 compensation should be $24.1 million, with a $495,000 base salary.

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The NFL has changed significantly over the past decade. A 5-foot-10 quarterback like Murray would never have been the top overall pick 10 years ago; Murray is the first QB under six feet ever taken in the first round. Rookie compensation has also been transformed. Quarterback Sam Bradford was the top pick in 2010 and signed for $78 million over six years. Fellow quarterback Cam Newton went first in the subsequent draft. His deal: $22 million over four years.

The difference was the 2011 collective bargaining agreement, which overhauled how rookies are paid and capped their compensation under their first contracts, similar to the NBA’s system. The rookie contracts are determined by the league’s salary cap ($188 million in 2019, up 6.2%) and rookie compensation pool (roughly $1.3 billion this year). The pool is divided among the 32 NFL clubs based on the teams’ number of picks and where they fall within the draft. This year’s first-round contracts are all capped at roughly 6% higher than those picked in the same slot of the 2018 NFL draft.

First-round picks typically receive four-year contracts that include a fifth-year team option. Undrafted rookies are limited to three-year contracts. The 32 college football players selected in the first round last night in Nashville are expected to sign deals in the coming months collectively worth $550 million.

2019 NFL Draft First-Round Rookie Salary Projections:

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