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Projecting first-round salaries in AFC East

4/28/2013

Now that the draft picks are in, it's time to look foward to signing this year's rookie class. Due to the rookie wage scale, working out multi-year agreements with first-year players have never been easier in the NFL. Holdouts have been reduced to virtually zero now that all draft picks are slotted for a certain salary under the collective bargaining agreement.

How much will this year's first-round picks make?

For perspective, here is a look at last year's draft picks. Keep in mind that all 2013 agreements could be slightly higher than last year’s.

DE Dion Jordan, Miami Dolphins

Pick: No. 3 overall

2012 pick: RB Trent Richardson, Cleveland Browns

Contract: four years, $20.4 million

Thoughts: The Miami Dolphins traded up to get to the No. 3 spot and selected Jordan. As a result, the Dolphins will have to pay top-three money that will average more than $5 million per season. The expectation is that Jordan will develop into a Pro Bowl player for the Dolphins. If that’s the case, he will be well worth the money.

CB Dee Milliner, New York Jets

Pick: No. 9

2012 pick: LB Luke Kuechly, Carolina Panthers

Contract: Four years, $12.58 million

Thoughts: The Jets are pretty tight on the salary cap and have two rookie first-round picks. Milliner will be the bigger contract. But it will be a bargain if Milliner becomes the cornerback the Jets expect and can adequately replace Darrelle Revis. Milliner will get about $13 million over the next four seasons. For comparison, Revis will make $16 million with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers next season alone.

DL Sheldon Richardson, Jets

Pick: No. 13

2012 pick: WR Michael Floyd, Arizona Cardinals

Contract: Four years, $10 million

Thoughts: Richardson is the second of two draft picks for the Jets. New York has a tight cap, but Richardson will be slightly more affordable than Milliner.

QB EJ Manuel, Buffalo Bills

Pick: No. 16

2012 pick: DE Quinton Coples, Jets

Contract: Four years, $9 million

Thoughts: The Bills received a lot of criticism for taking Manuel No. 16 overall. Many feel it was a reach and some, like ESPN draft expert Todd McShay, even called it “a waste” of the draft pick. But the Bills will get a very affordable quarterback if he develops into a franchise starter. Buffalo will pay Manuel a little over $9 million over the next four years. If Manuel doesn’t pan out, it will have major implications on the football field, but it won’t impact Buffalo’s salary cap all that much.