Four former Seminoles part of record-setting NFL Draft underclassmen group

Posted at 10:17 PM, Jan 19, 2014
and last updated 2015-03-04 17:31:33-05

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WTXL) - Sunday, the NFL announced an all-time record 98 underclassmen are approved for entry into the NFL Draft.

Four former Florida State student-athletes are on that list: running backs James Wilder Jr. and Devonta Freeman, defensive tackle Timmy Jernigan, and wide receiver Kelvin Benjamin.

Nearly 100 young men jumping at the chance to make millions of dollars is not particularly remarkable. However, what is remarkable about that record stat is NFL rookie salaries are much less than they were just several years ago.

After the NFL lockout of 2011, the league and its players association agreed to a new rookie wage scale, limiting salaries while hoping to avoid massive contracts dished out to players who wound up as draft busts. Now, the big, big money in the NFL mainly comes from second or third contracts.

For example, Sam Bradford, the number one overall pick in 2010, signed an all-time rookie record six-year $78 million contract with the St. Louis Rams. Just a year later, after the new collective bargaining agreement ended the lockout, 2011 number one overall pick Cam Newton signed a four-year $22 million deal with the Carolina Panthers.

The 2014 NFL Draft begins May 8 from New York City's Radio City Music Hall.