ATHENS — Georgia football had seven players selected in the 2019 NFL Draft, and there will be some very rich young men moving forward.
Here’s a look at the pre-set rookie wage scale, which is a byproduct of the NFL collective bargaining agreement.
As much as the numbers are sure to draw interest from fans, they are also worth considering when measuring the risk-reward decisions players have to make when evaluating whether to come back for another year of school.
Deandre Baker, for example, was projected by some to be a second- or third-round pick had he come out in the 2018 NFL Draft.
By returning for his senior season and going No. 30 overall — instead of going in the middle of the second round as a junior, his financial gain was at least $5 million, if not more.
There are other examples of underclassmen turning pro early, only to go undrafted and sign as free agents.
The differences between being a drafted player and free agent are substantial, even if the free agent makes the team
Undrafted players who make the team can only sign three-year deals, and the average signing bonus is $5,000.
Practice squad players make $8,000 per week and $136,000 if they are on the team all 17 games of the season
The 2019 rookie minimum salary, per footbalnextlevel.com, is $495,000 for a rostered player — significantly less than a seventh-rounder who makes the team.
According to the Heavy.com website, for drafted players “all deals are over four years, but first-round picks have a fifth-year option available to teams.”
Rookie wage scale for Georgia players*
Deandre Baker, $5.6 million signing bonus, $10.5 million contract value
Mecole Hardman, $1.35-$2.33 signing bonus, $4.6-5.9 million value
Riley Ridley, $486,000-$805,0000 signing bonus, $3 million to $3.3 million value
D’Andre Walker, $234,000 to $349,000 bonus, $2.75 million to $2.87 value
Lamont Gaillard, $127,000 to $209,000 bonus, $2.65 million to $2.73 value
Isaac Nauta, $74,000 to $112,000 bonus, $2.59 million to $2.53 value
Terry Godwin, $74,000 to $112,000 bonus, $2.59 million to $2.53 value
Free agent information
Undrafted free agents, $5,000 signing bonus
2019 rookie minimum salary: $495,000
2019 practice squad pay: $136,000 if on all season
2019 NFL Draft coverage
- Holyfield and Ledbetter among UGA free-agent signees
- Rashad Baker goes 30th overall to the New York Giants
- Kansas City Chiefs grab Mecole Hardman in second round
- Riley Ridley fourth-round pick of Chicago Bears
- Tennessee Titans pick up D’Andre Walker in fifth round
- Lamont Gaillard sixth-round choice of Arizona Cardinals
- Detroit Lions find value in Isaac Nauta in seventh round
- Terry Godwin gets picked in seventh round by Carolina Panthers