The 2011 NFL Collective Bargaining Agreement and Drafted Player Compensation

Quinn A. W. Keefer

We examine the effect of the 2011 collective bargaining agreement (CBA) between the National Football League owners and the Players Association on drafted player compensation. The 2011 CBA made two major changes to the rules governing drafted player compensation. First, a rookie wage scale, based on selection number and round, was introduced. Second, there was a limit placed on compensation growth of 25% of year-one salary. We find the rookie wage scale actually increased the compensation of players selected in the first two rounds of the draft. However, the limit on compensation growth decreased compensation in later years. The overall effect is a significant decrease in the compensation of first-round selections, considering both year-one and year-two salaries.