Ask – NFL Rookie Salary Pool in 2010

Following is the answer to a recent question in the mailbag. To submit a question, send an email to

Now that the Draft has been held, is there a rookie salary pool in 2010?  If yes, how does it work?  Does it only impact what rookies earn in their first year or does it take into account the entire rookie contract?

Yes, the same rookie salary pool system that has been in place for many years will be used in 2010.  Each NFL club has a different rookie salary pool based upon the number of draft picks the team has and the position of those picks.  Teams with more picks and higher picks have larger salary pools than teams with fewer and/or lower picks in the draft.

As in past years, the rookie salary pool counts ONLY the base salary, pro-rated signing bonus and “likely-to-be earned” incentives (such as roster bonuses) earned in a player’s rookie season.  The rookie salary pool does NOT take into account option bonuses exercised in future years, base salary guaranteed in future years, the remaining pro-rated amount of the rookie-year signing bonus, or “not-likely-to-be-earned” incentives (such as playtime that is coupled with team improvement in various statistical categories) earned under the rookie contract.

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