Before we get into the heart of this piece, maybe I should briefly explain just what it is I’m talking about. Well, under the 2011 Collective Bargaining Agreement, all first-round draft picks have to sign four-year deals, with a team option for a fifth year. This option has to be exercised by the March before their fourth year.
For players drafted in the top 10, the cost of the fifth year is the average of the top 10 salaries in the NFL at that player’s position in the fourth year of their contracts. For players drafted anywhere in the range of 11th to 32nd overall, it is the average of the third-highest paid player to the 25th-highest paid player at that player’s position in the fourth year of their contracts. Importantly, this money is fully guaranteed for injury only.
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