Breaking down Commanders QB Jayden Daniels' rookie contract

The new arrival is a wealthy man.
Jayden Daniels
Jayden Daniels / Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

Jayden Daniels carries the weight of the world on his young shoulders. You wouldn't know it looking at the rookie quarterback's demeanor and the way he's conducted himself since joining the Washington Commanders, but the fact remains.

Daniels set about alleviating the concerns of his toughest critics with a smooth integration into the organization. The No. 2 overall selection in the 2024 NFL Draft won the respect of coaches and teammates by taking on schematic concepts effortlessly and displaying a tireless work ethic. It'll take much more to become a franchise-altering presence under center, but the former LSU star is off to a sensational start.

There was one small matter for Daniels to conduct once Washington's mandatory minicamp concluded. The Heisman Trophy winner signed his rookie deal, giving him the financial security and just reward for a superb rise to prominence.

This is not the same NFL where ludicrous sums were given to top-end draft picks such as JaMarcus Russell and Sam Bradford. There is a structure in place these days. As such, Daniels penned a four-year, fully guaranteed $37.74 million deal that also included a $24.27 million signing bonus.

That's just the bare bones of the contract. Given the Commanders' impressive salary-cap management this offseason, it makes Daniels the fifth-highest number on the team at $6.83 million next season.

Here's a breakdown of the base salary, roster bonuses, and prorated signing bonus throughout his four-year deal. These figures come from Over the Cap.

Breaking down Commanders QB Jayden Daniels' rookie deal

Base salary:

  • 2024: $795,000
  • 2025: $960,000
  • 2026: $1.07 million
  • 2027: $1.19 million

Prorated signing bonus:

  • $6.06 million per season

Roster bonuses:

  • 2025: $2.51 million
  • 2026: $3.15 million
  • 2027: $4.75 million

There's also the guaranteed salary to factor into the equation:

  • 2024: $6.86 million
  • 2025: $8.57 million
  • 2026: $10.29 million
  • 2027: $12.01 million

This is a drop in the ocean compared to current quarterback standards. The Commanders also have the luxury of a fifth-year option with Daniels if there are any doubts about offering him a lucrative long-term agreement beforehand.

However, if Daniels becomes what everyone associated with the Commanders hopes, the chances of him seeing out his rookie deal are remote. He'll become extension-eligible after three seasons, which is something general manager Adam Peters must factor into his long-term planning given what it might cost to keep him around.

Daniels has the talent to become a genuine superstar. If he meets or perhaps even exceeds expectations, one couldn't rule out a contract in the region of $300-350 million given the trajectory of money allocated to football's most important position.

It would be a vindication of the Commanders' choice. At the same time, it makes maximizing his rookie contract imperative from Peters' perspective. Fortunately for Washington, it's something the new front-office leader has previous experience with thanks to Brock Purdy's situation with the San Francisco 49ers.

Lay the foundations first. If Daniels shows enough in Year 1 and other opposition groups also make strides, Peters can then go a little bolder with his roster choices in 2025 to potentially enter the playoff picture.

Having an exceptional quarterback on such a low salary doesn't last forever. Daniels has the tools to excel and spearhead the Commanders' renaissance, but the price is only going up.