Now that the top two picks in the 2012 NFL Draft, quarterbacks Andrew Luck (4 years, $22.1 million) and Robert Griffin III (4 years, $21.1 million), have signed their respective rookie contracts, Alabama’s top two picks, Trent Richardson and Mark Barron, can be expected to ink deals with their new employers in the coming days.
Running back Richardson, the 3rd overall selection by the Cleveland Browns, and his agent Jimmy Sexton will undoubtedly be seeking a similar deal to the one former Alabama teammate and fellow 3rd overall pick Marcel Dareus signed last year with the Buffalo Bills. Dareus inked a fully guaranteed 4-year deal worth $20.4 million. Trent can expect a hefty signing bonus in the $13 million range.
Safety Barron, the 7th overall selection by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and also represented by Sexton, will be expecting around the same amount of money as last year’s 7th overall pick Aldon Smith. Smith agreed to a $14.38 million dollar deal with the San Francisco 49ers over four years with $8.96 million guaranteed. Don’t be surprised if Jimmy gets his other Bama boy a fully guaranteed contract.
Under the newly adopted collective bargaining agreement, NFL rookies are limited to 4-year contracts and teams are granted an option for a fifth season, albeit expensive. Top 10 picks’ salaries are fully guaranteed in that year and teams are required to pay players the average salary of the top 10 players at their positions.
Let’s pretend both the Bucs and the Browns exercise their 5th year options on Richardson and Barron. If the salaries of the top 10 players at their respective positions are the same in 2017 as they are today (highly unlikely, I know), then the Browns will be expected to dole out $6,530,625 to Richardson while the Bucs will have to pony up $6,065,900 to Barron. If you add those amounts to their initial four years of pay, the Browns average yearly payment to Richardson will be just north of $5 million, while Barron will average a little over $4 million a year from the Bucs.
With all that said, both players will probably end up with the typical rookie mandated contracts. Either way, they both will make bank.