NFL Minimum Salaries for 2015 and the Veteran Cap Benefit Rule

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).


Yrs. 2015 2016 2017 2018
0 $435,000 $450,000 $465,000 $480,000
1 $510,000 $525,000 $540,000 $555,000
2 $585,000 $600,000 $615,000 $630,000
3 $660,000 $675,000 $690,000 $705,000
4-6 $745,000 $760,000 $775,000 $790,000
7-9 $870,000 $885,000 $900,000 $915,000
10+ $970,000 $985,000 $1,000,000 $1,015,000


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.


Reserve/Future Contracts

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.




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  1. Did the rule change for 2015 for a player to be eligible for this benefit? The CBA states that a player must have four (4) or more credited seasons to be eligible for this benefit. Can you confirm?

    Also, in 2015 (per the CBA) the additional compensation limit increased from $65,000 to $80,000. The increased figure is applicable for 2015 through 2017.

  2. Sad that an NFL rookie makes more in his first year, $435,000, playing the equivalent of 8 games for the regular season, because they don’t play offense AND defense, and in 11 years in the Army in the Army, and twice deployed to combat situations, didn’t make more than $17,000 in any one year. Our military is sorely underpaid when you look at what athletes make. It is ridiculous. Sad Part is, they think they DESERVE that kind of money.

    1. we do deserve it fag. football almost as deadly as combat and tons of militants never see combat. we see it every week. why don’t you get your sorry ass out on that field and get killed, then you can see if you still think we don’t deserve it.

      1. My bad. that Amen was for James, not Jax. Jax, I think you may need to check yourself in somewhere. You are an unstable dude.

      2. what lol. I think we all played football at some level – never scared of my life. I myself was in the military, I would say it’s a “slightly” higher risk of getting killed, lol. Although some quarterbacks throw bombs – people tend to run toward those.

    2. Maybe it was when you were in, but they’ve caught up to market rate. Today, an E-2 makes $20,808/year in base pay, plus $4415.04 per year in untaxable BAS, plus government furnished housing. Every month or part of a month spent in a combat zone or actually receiving enemy fire or hospitalized for injuries sustained due to enemy fire entitles the service member to $225 plus exclusion of pay from taxation up to the basic pay of the seniormost enlisted member of the military or the entire pay of an enlisted member (this covers the entire basic pay of warrant officers W-4 and below and commissioned officers O-3 and below). Additional pay is available for special skills and hazardous duties (distinct from combat).

      An E-5 with 10 years in makes $37,285.20/year in basic pay and is generally entitled to live off base and draw BAH. Troops that have sea or flight duty are entitled to extra pay, with the amount varying based on grade and time in sea or flight duty. It’s not great pay, but it’s decent for only requiring a high school education with paid training and the opportunity for advancement, including the opportunity to become an officer.

  3. Football is not combat.For “Jax” to respond that way,I sincerely doubt he’s a pro player.You don’t lose limbs playing football.I have played the game .Maybe not at the pro level,but,I have played.It’s that kind of response that leaves me with little to no respect for some players.Thing is,most of these players end up broke,and for that,I have no sympathy for them.

  4. You get paid what your worth, military personnel get paid base of rank and education, NFL players do too! So don’t hate on what NFL players on what they get paid, if want to make more money, get educated, football players have at least 3 years of college and play in an industry that make billions dollars off millions of NFL fans and advertisers, Were as military cost the American government hundred of millions of dollars of debt. It’s sad to say we place our entertainment value higher than we hold our freedom and protection. It’s the culture we live in, hell the defense spent 5.4 million dollars last year promoting themselves thru the NFL, so they can have positive image and recruit people, but I will say NFL always supports our military and patronizes them during the course of the season, also travels off season USO show and other showcase events for our Armed Forces. It’s capitalistic COUNTRY, IT’S ABOUT SUPPLY AND DEMAND, MILLIONS OF NFL FOOTBALL FANS DEMAND FOOTBALL!!! SO don’t hate the players hate the system that we’ve created, NFL league commissioner made 44 million last year combined salary and bonuses, in an league were the highest paid players made 22 mil for those bumps and bruises, I mean should we say Goodell makes too much or say he does a good job. And, although not physically demanding, his job is not easy. At very least he has been at the head of the NFL as it continues to grow to unprecedented levels of popularity and prosperity. That being said I don’t blame players for holding out for more money based on the revenue stream the NFL makes, just like I don’t blame my co-worker asking for a raise for having the experience and education he earned and the job that he does as long as you produce that’s the bottom line!!!

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Article by: Michael Ginnitti

Managing Editor of Spotrac