The 2023 NFL Draft is underway and the Houston Texans have selected Ohio State quarterback C.J. Stroud with the second overall pick. He’ll get a shot at the starting job right out of the gate, but regardless of how he performs, he’s locked in a solid pay day. He will receive a fully guaranteed contract worth an estimated $39,379,587.
How is an NFL rookie’s wage scale determined?
The NFL and NFLPA negotiated a change to the collective bargaining agreement when they agreed to a rookie wage scale. The deals are four years in length, and extensions can only be negotiated following the third year. The structure is pretty straightforward: the top overall selection is eligible to get the biggest deal, with a scaled-back dollar amount for each subsequent pick thereafter.
So as an incoming draft prospect, it pays both literally, and figuratively, to not fall to the middle or the bottom of the first round. Last year, the annual base pay for first-round rookies was $660,000 annually.
Teams that make first round picks get a fifth year option on the player. Second through seventh round picks are free agents after their fourth year unless the team uses the franchise or transition tag on them. Undrafted players can become free agents after their third year and can negotiate an extension after their second year.
What will the salary be for this year’s No. 2 overall pick?
According to sports contract monitoring site Spotrac, the projected salary for the NFL’s 2023 No. 2 pick is $39,379,587 in total value, with an estimated signing bonus of $25,639,699 and a 2023 cap of $7,159,925.