Teams can spend $76K on undrafted rookie bonuses

Posted April 27, 2012 @ 5:58 p.m.
Posted By Eric Edholm

A league source told Pro Football Weekly that each NFL team will have $76,585 to spend on bonuses for undrafted rookies at the completion of the 2012 NFL draft, which concludes Saturday.

The new CBA placed a cap on the bonuses — up from $75,000 prior to last season — that teams can hand out to these rookies. Before that, some teams offered signing bonuses for as much as $20,000 to certain prized undrafted players, which exceeded bonuses for many seventh-round picks, and some teams often spent in excess of $100,000 worth of bonuses for these players per year.

Undrafted players otherwise earn minimum rookie salaries.

What makes this somewhat restrictive is the NFL's increase of the roster size from 80 to 90 players, which first was done after last year's lockout and again was agreed upon by the NFL's Management Council.

The 90-player limit includes active, inactive, practice squad, exempt, reserve lists, unsigned draft picks and franchised free agents who have yet to sign. Rosters are cut down to 75 during the preseason, and then 53 prior to Week One games.