A look at the Year 1 and Year 2 Salary Cap Hits for Top 10 Draft Picks Under the New CBA


With the first round of the NFL Draft taking place tomorrow night, excitement is aplenty for NFL fans as we all anxiously await which college players our favorite team will select. However, around this time of year, it’s also always fun to take a look at recent contracts the top picks in previous drafts have received.

Of course nowadays, the top contracts aren’t what they used to be due to all of the changes for rookies implemented in the 2011 CBA. The years of record breaking contracts for the top pick every year are a thing of a past. Now, the contract for this year’s top pick isn’t going to look much different from last year’s top pick. As such, the cap hits for most of these players will be very similar for most draftees. Of course, this assumes that there will still be a freeze on signing bonus money.

Jason has done an incredible job of breaking down what each team’s Year One Pool (the cap allocation each team has to spend on rookies for the first year of their contracts), Signing Bonus Allocation (the immediate cash a team needs to sign their rookies), and Total Cap Estimate (the salary cap total to keep each rookie for all 4 years on their contract). What I wanted to do here was take a very quick look at the salary cap hits for the first two contract years of the top ten picks from both drafts that are governed by the 2011 CBA:

1st Pick

Year 1: 

Cam Newton: $4,004,636

Andrew Luck: $4,019,636

Year 2

Cam Newton: $5,005,795

Andrew Luck: $5,024,545

2nd Pick

Year 1:

Von Miller: $3,818,250

Robert Griffin III: $3,839,836

Year 2:

Von Miller: $4,772,813

Robert Griffin III: $4,799,795

3rd Pick

Year 1:

Marcell Dareus: $3,710,418

Trent Richardson: $3,725,418

Year 2:

Marcell Dareus: $4,638,023

Trent Richardson: $4,656,772

4th Pick

Year 1:

A.J. Green: $3,579,655

Matt Kalil: $3,594,655

Year 2

A.J. Green: $4,474,568

Matt Kalil: $4,493,318

5th Pick:

Year 1

Patrick Peterson: $3,350,818

Justin Blackmon: $3,365,820

Year 2

Patrick Peterson: $4,188,523

Justin Blackmon: $4,207,275

6th Pick

Year 1

Julio Jones: $2,942,500

Morris Claiborne: $2,957,182

Year 2

Julio Jones: $3,678,125

Morris Claiborne: $3,696,478

7th Pick

Year 1

Aldon Smith: $2,615,273

Mark Barron: $2,630,273

Year 2

Aldon Smith: $3,269,091

Mark Barron: $3,287,841

8th Pick

Year 1

Jake Locker: $2,288,364

Ryan Tannehill: $2,303,374

Year 2

Jake Locker: $2,860,455

Ryan Tannehill: $2,879,205

9th Pick

Year 1

Tyson Smith: $2,272,018

Luke Kuechly: $2,287,018

Year 2:

Tyson Smith: $2,840,022

Luke Kuechly: $2,858,773

10th Pick

Year 1

Blaine Gabbert: $2,182,118

Stephon Gilmore: $2,197,118

Year 2

Blaine Gabbert: $2,727,647

Stephon Gilmore: $2,746,398

% Increase for each pick (% was the same for both Year 1 and Year 2):

Pick 1: 0.37%

Pick 2: 0.56% 

Pick 3: 0.40% 

Pick 4: 0.42% 

Pick 5: 0.45% 

Pick 6: 0.50% 

Pick 7: 0.57% 

Pick 8: 0.66%

Pick 9: 0.66%

Pick 10: 0.69% 

Pretty similar, eh? As you can see, the % increase was thrown off a bit last year for the 2nd pick. However, that is likely because in 2012, the 2nd pick was a QB (Robert Griffin III) while in 2011 the pick was a LB (Von Miller). The same issue did not arise with the 8th pick in 2012, Ryan Tannehill, since the 8th pick in 2011 was also a QB (Jake Locker). I’d love to take a look soon and see what the % differences were for players who were drafted under the old CBA rules, because obviously now the difference is minimal. As the 2013 rookies begin to sign their contracts In the weeks and months to come, we’ll certainly be noting the differences and similarities in contract structure, though no one should be holding their breath for any major differences.

The next 24 hours are going to be a blast. As smokescreens continue to be set, take with skepticism all the wild rumors about what team wants to draft what player, what teams want to trade up and/or down, etc. Above all else, enjoy the draft and keep an eye on Overthecap.com as we’ll certainly be taking a look at all rookie contracts.

Twitter: @AndrewOTC