The 2023 NFL Draft wraps up on Saturday with the always busy third day. The first three rounds featured plenty of high profile talent, but the final four rounds are where teams find key cogs that help build championships.
Fourth round picks get a little bit of love, but fifth round picks are when a lot of fans start looking ahead to draft grades. They’re important players, but there’s a reason they have slipped deeper into the final day of the draft.
While higher picks are viewed as better than later picks, they are all equal in the one aspect of the collective bargaining agreement. All draft picks sign a four-year contract after they are picked. While first-round picks are subject to a fifth-year option, players in rounds two through seven do not have that team option attached to their contract. They can become an unrestricted free agent when their contract expires, although the franchise or transition tag is a team option if the player is that good.
What will the salary be for fifth-round picks in the NFL Draft?
The NFL CBA provides for a minimum rookie salary of $750,000 in 2023. Players can make more than that, bust most rookie contracts will include a 2023 salary of $750,000.
In addition to a rookie base, the players and owners negotiated a rookie wage scale for the total value of contracts. Contract reference site Over The Cap provides a rundown of rookie cap numbers for this year’s class. The numbers might move a little, but this provides a solid framework to work from for determining how much each pick will make from 2023 to 2026.
The first pick of the fifth round will sign a contract worth approximately $4.224 million and receive a signing bonus of approximately $384,680. The second pick of the round will receive a $4.218 million contract with a $378,408 signing bonus. The numbers decrease each pick until the 43rd pick where the player will receive a $4.098 million contract with a $258,040 signing bonus. Notably, only 42 players will be picked in the fifth round. The Texans held the second pick of the round, but forfeited it due to funding off-site training for DeShaun Watson.
Players drafted in the fifth round can also earn something called a proven performance escalator (PPE). There are three levels of PPE and they are earned by playing a certain percentage of offensive or defensive snaps for a team over their first three seasons, and also by earning a Pro Bowl nod. If they earn a PPE, their fourth-year base salary will be increased. Over The Cap offers a complete breakdown of PPEs.