As we approach the 2023 NFL draft, speculation is already swirling around which prospect will be selected with the coveted first overall pick. The Carolina Panthers recently traded for the 1st overall pick, which was held by the Chicago Bears, and added even more intrigue to the draft.
While the player selected will no doubt receive a significant amount of attention, another important consideration is the financial compensation that comes with being the top pick. In this article, we will examine how much the 2023 NFL draft’s first overall pick is expected to make on his rookie contract.
Understanding the NFL Rookie Contract Structure
Before delving into the specifics of the first overall pick’s contract, it’s important to understand how rookie contracts are structured in the NFL. All drafted players sign four-year contracts with the team that selected them, with the first-round picks having a fifth-year team option. The total value of the contract is determined by a combination of factors, including the player’s draft position, the team’s available salary cap space, and the market value of comparable players at the same position.
Factors that Determine the First Overall Pick’s Contract Value
When it comes to the first overall pick, several factors come into play when determining their rookie contract’s value. Here are some of the most critical factors:
Previous Contracts for First Overall Picks
One key factor in determining the first overall pick’s value is looking at previous contracts signed by players selected with the first pick. The most recent contracts can provide insight into what the market value for that selection might be.
Positional Market Value
Another critical consideration is the market value for players at the same position. For example, if the first overall pick is a quarterback, the contract’s value would be higher because quarterbacks tend to earn more than players at other positions.
Teams’ specific needs can also impact the value of a contract. For instance, if a team has an immediate need at a specific position, they may be willing to pay a premium for a top-tier prospect who can fill that void.
Salary Cap Space
Lastly, a team’s available salary cap space is another crucial factor when it comes to determining the contract’s value. If a team has limited cap space, they may not be able to offer a massive contract to the first overall pick.
Previous First Overall Pick Contracts
Now that we’ve discussed the factors that determine the first overall pick’s contract value, let’s take a closer look at the contracts signed by previous players who were selected with the top pick.
2021: Trevor Lawrence
In the 2021 NFL draft, the Jacksonville Jaguars selected quarterback Trevor Lawrence with the first overall pick. Lawrence signed a four-year, $36.8 million contract that included a $24.1 million signing bonus.
2020: Joe Burrow
The Cincinnati Bengals selected quarterback Joe Burrow with the first overall pick in the 2020 NFL draft. Burrow signed a four-year, $36.2 million contract that included a $23.9 million signing bonus.
2019: Kyler Murray
Quarterback Kyler Murray was selected by the Arizona Cardinals with the first overall pick in the 2019 NFL draft. Murray signed a four-year, $35.2 million contract that included a $23.6 million signing bonus.
2018: Baker Mayfield
The Cleveland Browns selected quarterback Baker Mayfield with the first overall pick in the 2018 NFL draft. Mayfield signed a four-year, $32.7 million contract that included a $21.8 million signing bonus.
2017: Myles Garrett
Defensive end Myles Garrett was selected by the Cleveland Browns with the first overall pick in the 2017 NFL draft. Garrett signed a four-year, $30.4 million contract that included a $20 million signing bonus.
Predicting the 2023 First Overall Pick’s Contract Value
While we can look at previous first-overall pick contracts to gain insight, it’s important to note that the market value for each draft class can vary based on several factors, including the overall strength of the draft class and the teams’ needs selecting near the top.
However, early projections suggest that the 2023 first overall pick is expected to sign a contract worth between $40-45 million, with a signing bonus of around $25 million. This would put them on par with recent first-overall picks and in line with the market value for a top-tier quarterback prospect.
It’s worth noting that the fifth-year team option for first-round picks also comes into play when it comes to the first-overall pick’s value. The fifth-year option allows teams to extend the rookie contract for an additional year at a predetermined salary. For the 2023 first-overall pick, the fifth-year option is projected to be worth around $30 million.
In conclusion, while we won’t know for sure how much the 2023 first-overall pick will make on his rookie contract until draft day, we can make informed projections based on previous contracts and other factors that impact contract value. Early projections suggest that the first overall pick is likely to sign a contract worth between $40-45 million, with a signing bonus of around $25 million.
No, all drafted players sign four-year contracts with the team that selected them, with the first-round picks having a fifth-year team option.
The fifth-year team option for first-round picks is predetermined based on the player’s position and is typically a significant increase from their previous years’ salaries.
If a team declines the fifth-year option, the player becomes a free agent at the end of their fourth season.
The largest signing bonus ever given to a first overall pick was $34 million, given to quarterback Matthew Stafford in the 2009 NFL draft.
The most significant rookie contract ever signed in NFL history was signed by quarterback Sam Bradford in 2010. The contract was worth $78 million over six years, with $50 million guaranteed.
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