Thursday night couldn’t have gone any better for Patrick Mahomes II. When the Kansas City Chiefs traded up 17 spots to get the Texas Tech dynamic quarterback, they did more than just give the Big 12 a top 10 pick, they also ensured Mahomes will get a significant payday.
NFL rookie compensation is directly based on where a player goes in the draft. The higher the pick, the better the contract. Total dollar figure isn’t the only thing affected by where a rookie lands in the draft, either. First and second round guys will guaranteed contracts, while those later probably won’t. And those that get drafted will get 4-year deals, while undrafted free agents are capped at 3-year deals.
So, after last night’s first round, we know who is going to make more money than who, but exactly how much will they make? I’m not going to pretend to know exactly how the formula works, but it is determined by the league’s salary cap and the rookie compensation pool. For as how the rookie compensation pool works, Forbes does a pretty good job of explaining it.
“This year’s league-wide pool is expected to be approximately $1.2 billion (with approximately $480m allocated to first round draft picks) and is split among all 32 NFL clubs in proportion to their total number of draft picks and the position of those picks within each round. Teams who choose earlier and/or have stockpiled picks will thus have a larger piece of the pool to draw from. While this season’s salary cap has risen by more than $11 million over last year’s, the actual signing bonuses for rookies are expected to stay approximately the same.”
From that we can start to determine what each first round draftee’s contract will look like, and it is estimated that Patrick Mahomes will get a $26 million payday — $16,429,733 in his guaranteed contract and a $10,086,869 signing bonus.
That’s a far cry from what Mahomes would have been paid had the Chiefs not traded up and taken him with their original 27th pick. Provided he was still on the board, his total contract would have been over $10 million less!