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Which Penn Stater in the NFL (Not Named Saquon) Will Make the Most in 2018?

by on June 10, 2018 8:00 PM

Saquon Barkley has not yet signed a contract to play in the NFL.

Guaranteed that when he does, though, it will be a giant one.

As the New York Giants’ top pick in April’s NFL Draft — and the second selection overall — Barkley is expected to get a four-year contract worth more than $31 million, according to Forbes.

Of that, over $21 million will be guaranteed even if the former Penn State superstar running back doesn’t play a down.

Former Nittany Lion tight end Mike Gesicki, picked in the second round by the Miami Dolphins and selected 42nd overall, hasn’t signed a contract, either. But, according (the online go-to source for pro contract info), Gesicki is in line to make $6.6 million overall on a four-year deal, with a signing bonus of about $2.9 million.


Barkley aside, though, no former Penn Stater in the NFL will get more in 2018 than wide receiver Allen Robinson.

The Chicago Bears will pay Robinson over $15 million in 2018 — $4 million in base salary, $6 million as a signing bonus and a $5,062,500 roster bonus (pretty much a foregone conclusion).

Robinson signed a three-year, $42 million contract with the Chicago Bears in May. Robinson, who played his first four years in the NFL with Jacksonville, was rated as the league’s No. 3 free agent by He had 201 catches for 2,848 yards (a 14.1-yard average) in his first three seasons with Jacksonville, then tore his ACL in the 2017 season-opener against Houston. At Penn State, he was twice the Big Ten’s receiver of the year and his 97 receptions in 2013 are a school record; his 77 in 2012 rank third, behind DaeSean Hamilton (82, 2014).

After Robinson, and not counting Barkley, the highest-paid Penn Staters in the NFL in 2018 will be Miami defensive end Cameron Wake ($9.125 million), Tennessee defensive lineman DaQuan Jones ($8 million), Dallas linebacker Sean Lee ($7 million) and New England wide receiver Chris Hogan ($3.2 million). Hogan played only lacrosse at Penn State, then after graduating played one season of football at Monmouth College before entering the NFL as an undrafted free agent.

In straight salary, Wake ($8 million) and Lee (the full $7 million) will rank 1-2.

The four Nittany Lions selected in the 2018 draft after Barkley and Gesicki have already signed contracts with the NFL. All will receive the base $480,000 rookie salary, but their signing bonuses differed based on their draft position.

Troy Apke, picked in the fourth round by Washington and 109th overall, received a signing bonus of over $703,000, while fellow fourth-rounder Hamilton (113th overall, by Denver) received more than $682,000. Marcus Allen, selected in the fifth round by Pittsburgh and 148th overall, received a signing bonus of about $292,000, while former PSU secondary mate Christian Campbell got over $170,000 after being picked in the sixth round and 182nd overall by Arizona.


A list of Penn Staters in the NFL and their expected 2018 compensation — assuming they make their squads in September — follows, using figures found on and Numbers are based on salary and bonuses received this season; bonuses received prior to 2018 — while pro-rated against a team’s annual cap this year — are counted only if the players received or will receive the money in 2018. 

In addition to Barkley and Gesicki, two additional sets of Penn Staters are not on the list — free agents with NFL experience who have not signed for the 2018 season and players on the 2017 Nittany Lion squad who tried out for the NFL this past spring but did not stick.

Veterans NaVorro Bowman, a former All-Pro linebacker; linebacker Gerald Hodges; and defensive tackle Jordan Hill are hoping to sign with a team prior to training camp. From the 2017 Penn State team, linebacker Brandon Smith (Buffalo) and long snapper Tyler Yazujian (Arizona) had try-outs after not being selected in April’s NFL draft, but did not make the roster.


Allen Robinson, WR, Chicago — $15.0625 million ($4 mil salary, $6 mil signing bonus, $5,062,500 roster bonus)

Cameron Wake, DE, Miami — $9.125 million ($8 mil salary, $1 mil incentive bonus, $125,000 workout bonus)

DaQuan Jones, DE, Tennessee — $8 million ($4 mil salary, $4 mil signing bonus)

Sean Lee, LB, Dallas — $7 million

Chris Hogan, WR, New England — $3.28125 million ($3 mil salary, $281,500 roster bonus)



Stefen Wisniewski, G, Philadelphia — $2.75 million ($2.5 mil salary, $250 restructure bonus)

Garry Gilliam, OT, San Francisco — $2,450,000 ($1.75 mil salary, $650,000 roster bonus, $50,000 workout bonus)

Jack Crawford, DE, Atlanta — $2,318,748 ($2.25 mil salary, $68,748 roster bonus)

Robbie Gould, K, San Francisco — $2 million

A.Q. Shipley, C, Arizona — $2 million ($1.5 mil salary, $250,000 incentive bonus, $250,000 roster bonus)

Adrian Amos, FS, Chicago — $1,907,000

Jesse James, TE, Pittsburgh — $1,907,000

Nathan Stupar, LB, New Orleans — $1,725,000

Donovan Smith, OT, Tampa Bay — $1,262,000 ($1,162,00 salary, $100,000 workout bonus)



Austin Johnson, NT, Tennessee — $964,748

Christian Hackenberg, QB, Oakland — $873,664

Matt McGloin, QB, Kansas City — $790,000

Michael Mauti, LB, New Orleans — $790,000

Carl Nassib, DE, Cleveland — $773,000

Mike Hull, LB, Miami — $705,000

Jordan Lucas, CB, Miami — $630,000

Ross Travis, TE, Kansas City — $630,000

Trevor Williams, CB, San Diego — $630,000

Anthony Zettel, DT, Detroit — $630,000

Chris Godwin, WR, Tampa Bay — $581,500

Brandon Bell, LB, Cincinnati — $550,000

Kyle Carter, TE, N.Y. Giants — $555,000

Sam Ficken, K, L.A. Rams — $480,000

Malik Golden, S, Pittsburgh — $480,000

Garrett Sickels, LB, L.A. Rams — $480,000



Troy Apke, S, Washington — $1,183,635 ($480,000 salary, $703,635 signing bonus)

DaeSean Hamilton, WR, Denver — $1,162,638 ($480,000 salary, $682,638 signing bonus)

Marcus Allen, S, Pittsburgh — $772,637 ($480,000 salary, $292,637 signing bonus)

Christian Campbell, CB, Arizona — $650,738 ($480,000 salary, $170,738 signing bonus)

Curtis Cothran, DL, Minnesota — $483,333 ($480,000 salary, $3,333 signing bonus)

Saaed Blacknall, WR, Oakland — $480,000

Jason Cabinda, LB, Oakland — $480,000

Tyrell Chavis, DL, N.Y. Giants — $480,000

Parker Cothren, DL, Pittsburgh — $480,000

Tyler Davis, K, Buffalo — $480,000

Grant Haley, CB, N.Y. Giants — $480,000

Brendan Mahon, OL, Carolina — $480,000

Mike Poorman has covered Penn State football since 1979, and for since the 2009 season. His column appears on Mondays and Fridays. Follow him on Twitter at His views and opinions do not necessarily reflect those of Penn State University.
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