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NFL

How many years do rookie contracts last in the NFL by position?

All draft picks in the NFL sign a contract for four years and teams have maximum and minimum amounts that can be spent on their picks based on their position.

Reem Abdalazem
All draft picks in the NFL sign a contract for 4 years and teams have maximum and minimum amounts that can be spent on their picks based on their position.
RJ Sangosti/MediaNews Group/The Denver Post via Getty ImagesGetty

An NFL rookie contract is divided into two different categories, drafted players and undrafted players. The length of a rookie contract is four years, regardless of their round of draft picks. There’s a possible option of a fifth year, after the third year of the deal is over.

According to the CBA, or Collective Bargaining Agreement signed by the NFL and its Players Association (NFLPA), certain characteristics accompany the contracts that can be signed by new players who enter the league, no matter their athletic level.

Related: NFL Draft 2022: the top wide receivers and tight ends

When can rookie players renegotiate their contracts?

Drafted Players cannot renegotiate their contracts until the conclusion of their third season in the NFL. This means that Cardinals QB Kyler Murray, a first overall pick, and other 2019 draftees, cannot sign new deals until Jan. 10, 2022.

Undrafted players, on the other hand, can renegotiate their rookie contracts after their second season in the league.

If a player renegotiates his contract before the time listed above, he loses all benefits that come with the original rookie contract.

Rookie wage scale

A rookie wage scale was implemented by the 2011 CBA, greatly reducing salaries for early first-round picks and changing the timing for when draft picks could sign contract extensions.

Rookie salaries differ from one draft to another and all drafted rookies must fit under the team’s overall rookie salary cap. As listed above, all draft picks in the league sign a contract for four years and teams have maximum and minimum amounts that can be spent on their picks based on their position. In 2021, the minimum base salary was $660,000.

Incentives and elements like the signing and roster bonus, have little margin for movement, which has lessened the disputes between players and teams signing a rookie contract.