The Final Look at 2013 Rookie Compensation


With Chance Warmack’s contract officially on the books the 2013 NFL rookie class is all under contract. While some of the numbers may be off by a few dollars here and there, you can view the contract information for everyone on the site.

With all the talk of the new draft slotting system and the bargains in the draft I think we can lose sight of the importance of being drafted high and the amount of money that can be lost by falling in the draft. While we have seen some players who fire agents for telling them they will be picked in slot X only to fall down on draft day, I would think if the agent helps you prepare for your combine, workouts, and interviews that is as much as he can do. If a player fails to follow through on guidance that is on the player.

So how much money are we talking about? Through my own studies of the last three drafts it would seem the NFL breaks their slotting system down into multiple tiers. Round 2 through 7 all represent their own individual tier, but the league significantly penalizes a player if picked in Round 5 rather than Round 4, based on guarantees. Round one basically breaks into 4 tiers- picks 1 thru  5, 6 and 7, 8 thru 12, and the rest of the round, through the drops from picks 1 thru 7 are enough to consider each slot significant.   Note that compensatory selections do not count in the tiers they simply fall in between rounds regardless of how many are awarded per round.

Here are the round breakdowns, with the percentage drop being the difference in guarantees between the last pick of the prior tier and first pick on this tier (in other words the drop from pick 5 to pick 6 was 12.1%)



Avg. Guarantee

% Guar. Drop (from last of prior tier)

1 to 5




6 to 7




8 to 11




12 to 32




Round 2




Round 3




Round 4




Round 5




Round 6




Round 7




As you can see the drops in just one slot can be devastating. The drop in guarantees from pick 4 to 5 is about $1.25 million(6.3%) but for 5 to 6 is nearly $2.25 million. One draft slot millions of dollars. On paper the NFL has determined that he drop between pick 32 and 33 is quite large, but in reality is there that kind of difference between the two players?  Financially a team saves about 19% in total contract value and nearly 26% in guaranteed money.

The round 4 to 5 drop is also gigantic. The NFL doesn’t consider the round 3 and round 4 much different in terms of price, but round 4 to 5 is incredibly significant.  The final pick of round 4 will receive a signing bonus worth approximately $386,000 while the first pick of round 5 receives just $215,000. Whether there was consideration made to large number of picks compensatory selections expected to occur between round 4 and 5 (there were 8 in 2012 but only 4 in 2013) being number 32 is round 4 is a far better place to be than number 1 in round 5.

The following graphs illustrate the total contract value for each pick in the 2013 NFL draft and the guarantees for rounds 3 to round 7. Hopefully these give a little more perspective than just raw numbers of the disparity in compensation from round to round.

NFL Draft Salaries

NFL Draft Guarantees