Projecting the Year 1 Rookie Salaries
With free agency underway and a number of questions as to just how much the Jets really have to spend I wanted to take a quick look at the potential rookie allotments for the team. The new CBA uses a slotted system for their rookie contracts where the expected total value and year one cap number are based on a percentage of a total number. Last year the number was $159 million in year 1 cap charges and $874 million in total contract value for all rookies drafted. The actual spend, based on information I have collected on rookie contracts, looks to have been $158.9 million and $860.2 million respectively.
With the numbers only expected to rise by the same percentage increase in the salary cap it looks as if the new limits will only be $159.3 million and $875.6 million this year. That should likely create a big problem for rookies and their agents because the small percentage in the cap does not increase equally with the increase in the minimum salary for an NFL player, which rose by 4%. Last year, for instance, the first rounders accounted for just over 40% of all Year 1 salary cap charges. For that ratio to stay intact the 7th round selections average year one cap charge would have to be under $390,000, the minimum wage in the NFL for 2011. So there is likely going to have to be money given up this season for the top end rookie class compared to last season.
In order to try to calculate a fair estimate I took last years minimum salary out of each players salary and determined just how much they were charged in excess of the $375,000 minimum. For instance Cam Newton’s cap charge would be reduced from $4,004,636 to $3,629,636. It represented a salary figure that was about 7 times higher than the final pick in the first round and 316 times higher than the final non-compensatory pick in the NFL draft. Since the minimum wage is constant regardless of draft round I wanted to keep the excess they can earn in line with the figures I had from last season.
Based on those numbers it would seem that Andrew Luck’s year one cap charge would reduce to $3.871 million from Newton’s $4.004 million the year before. Obviously there is some wiggle room in that number which occurs during negotiations and most likely the lower drafted guys will feel the brunt before they reduce the number 1 picks salary, but someone is getting hurt this season compared to last year in terms of signing bonus money. Agents are going to be pushing for more guarantees for their low round selections to make up for it. Likely another in a string of losses for the Players Association who really are getting beaten up left and right on this new CBA agreement
Here are the estimates for the Jets draft selections:
Round 1, pick 16 - $1,550,957
Round 2, pick 15- $767,332
Round 3, pick 14-$538,529
Round 4, pick 13-$498,758
Round 5, pick 19- $435,076
Round 6, pick 18- $414,953
Round 7, pick 17- $403,631
Compensatory picks are not included in the total numbers and each seems to be treated about the same despite the order of selection. We do expect the Jets to be awarded compensatory selections in the draft and those totals would be added to the actual draft total. The estimated numbers are as follows:
Round 3- $511,326
Round 4- $462,069
Round 5- $424,661
Round 6- $408,865
Round 7- $401,005
So the bottom line is the Jets will likely be allocated a minimum of $4.61 million of their salary cap to sign their rookies and that number will grow if they happen to be rewarded compensatory picks or picks via trade. Each player should replace another player making the minimum salary in 2012 so the net effect is only about $1.88 million in additional salary cap charges that has to be allocated for the 7 first round selections in 2012.
If anyone would like me to give a guesstimate for any other team please just send me an email with the team and what selections they are expected to have in the draft and I’ll put a post up on it. Im going to try to also follow all the draft selections to better model these estimates for the future, so if anyone has any salary data to pass along please feel free. All information is kept confidential if it comes from an unpublished source.