2024 NFL Draft: How much do undrafted rookie free agents make? Salaries and contracts explained

NFL: Carolina Panthers at Dallas Cowboys
2024 NFL Draft: How much do undrafted rookie free agents make? Salaries and contracts explained

Numerous gifted college football players miss out on the NFL draft each year for a variety of reasons, including frame or stature issues, character issues, lack of exposure, and injuries. Many of these players end up becoming undrafted free agents.

Undrafted free agents (UDFAs) are players who can sign with any team following the draft if they make it through the selection process without being picked by any team.

Teams quickly pick up the phone after the draft to reach out to players who were on their radar but were not taken.

The teams that UDFAs opt to sign with typically offer them standard NFL contracts. The terms and pay of these contracts can vary, however. Certain contracts may also come with signing bonuses or guaranteed funds, but they are usually not as profitable as those signed by players who were drafted.

Be the GM of your favorite team, use our free Mock Draft Simulator with trades

Let's take a look at how much these UDFAs earn on their contracts in the NFL.

Undrafted free agents often sign contracts in the NFL for the $750,000 annual minimum pay set by the league, though the terms and amounts of these agreements might change. The undrafted rookie reservation amount for the 2023 season was between $160,000 and $200,000

The decision about the contract's structure, which differs from that of drafted players, rests solely with the team that signs the undrafted free agent. Drafted players are compensated according to the rookie wage scale, which is based on their draft position.

An NFL team's squad can undoubtedly gain depth and value by adding undrafted free agents. However, these players' bargaining power is diminished because they were not selected during the draft. The majority of these players only receive a one-year deal.

One benefit of being drafted is that, in contrast to undrafted players who frequently sign one-year contracts, drafted players get to sign a four-year contract with the teams who select them.

Quick Links

App download animated image Get the free App now