NFL Draft rookie contract scale: What Kyler Murray, other prospects will earn

As the first overall pick in the NFL Draft, quarterback Kyler Murray’s eventual contract with the Arizona Cardinals has already been largely determined by the NFL’s rookie pay scale.

Under the NFL’s collective-bargaining agreement, the value of first-year player contracts are set by a “total rookie compensation pool,” with prospects selected highest in the draft earning the most money. The pool is based on calculations tied to the NFL’s salary cap for the upcoming season.

Murray can expect to sign a four-year contract with the Cardinals worth an estimated $34.9 million, including a $23.4 million signing bonus, according to projections from Spotrac. Ohio State defensive end Nick Bosa, who went second overall to the San Francisco 49ers, will receive a four-year deal worth an estimated $33.3 million, along with a $22.3 signing bonus.

Rookie pay declines as the draft progresses. Arizona State wide receiver N’Keal Harry, who the New England Patriots selected with the 32nd and final pick in the first round, is slated to receive a four-year deal worth roughly $10 million, with a $5.3 million signing bonus.

Players selected in the first round generally receive fully guaranteed contracts, with a team option for a fifth year at a higher salary. Late-round selections receive less guaranteed money.

The final pick of the NFL draft’s seventh round is known as “Mr. Irrelevant” in league circles. This year, that player is projected to sign a $2.6 million contract with a $74,000 signing bonus.

Prior to the draft, the Packers, Cardinals, Raiders and Giants were each projected to spend $10 million toward their 2019 salary cap on rookie players. The Giants and Patriots entered with 12 draft picks each, more than any other NFL team.


The NFL Draft begins on Thursday and runs through Saturday.