Each year the NFL minimum salaries increase by $15,000, up to $435k for a rookie in 2015. A player’s minimum salary is determined by his years of experience (YOE), ranging from 0 to 10 or more. The chart below shows the minimum (P5) salaries a team can contract a player to based on Years of Experience (credited seasons).
Veteran Minimum Benefits
When qualified, a player with more than four or more years of NFL experience can earn his total minimum salary, but have a cap figure that reflects two years of experience – or in 2015, $585,000. The contract must be for only one year, and must not contain combined bonus money (signing, roster, workout) that exceeds $65,000.
For instance, Victor Butler recently re-signed with the New York Giants on a 1 year $745,000 contract. With more than two years of experience (5), and a 1 year contract, Butler qualfies for the cap hit benefit. His 2015 cap figure will be $585,000 with the Giants.
Had he received a signing bonus of the maximum $80,000, he would have received an $810,000 contract, with a $745,000 base salary, a $65,000 signing bonus, and a cap figure of $650,000 (585+65).
With plenty of veterans being released, or not signed back thus far in 2015, the use of the Minimum Salary Benefit Rule becomes useful both for older players looking for jobs, and teams looking to minimize their cap dollars.
The majority of Reserve/Futures contracts, as well as nearly all Undrafted Free Agent signings this summer will include a minimum salary base contract. In the 2015 season that would include a salary of $435,000 in 2015, $525,000 in 2016, and if applicable $615,000 in 2017.