The amount of money each team can spend on rookies is based on how many and where the picks were, so it is computed after the draft. The formula used is supposed to be a secret much like the compensatory pick formula is kept secret. The pool is not a separate allotment of cash given to a team and it is counted against the teams cap.
To make it explicit, last year without a 1st or 2nd, our rookie pool was $2.271 million. That meant, to sign all our draft picks, we had to be at least 2.2 million under the cap.
With a 1st rounder this year it'll be much larger, but by "much larger" I mean like $4 million total or something.
So it's not enough for us to simply get below the cap, though I believe by the March 12th deadline (I think it's March 12th?) we only have to get right at it. But in the end, we'll need to be at least 4 or 5 million below just to sign our draft picks.
The above two posts are correct. However, it is my understanding that we can "draft" whatever players we want and obviously they won't count against the cap UNTIL they are signed. Our rookie pool is established after the draft because trading up and down is not completed until during the draft.
We'll be right where we need to be with the salary cap by March 12th. Once we do our drafting of players and they sign (normally right before or during training camp), we'll need to free up additional dollars by either cutting, or restructuring current players to take into account the drafted and UDFA players we've added on....if we're in jeopardy of going over (this is where having Genius Loomis is such a great asset).
I don't believe we'll have much of a "rookie pool" to draw from as we don't have a 2nd and 7th this year...not that it makes that big of a difference. If I'm wrong...I'm all ears and ready to learn more
From what I have heard Pat Kirwin say in the past is that a drafted Rookie is considered to have a 1 year rookie minimum tender placed on him as soon as he is drafted and that would count as the cap hit until he signs his 4 year deal. Also a team just has to have enough space in their cap to cover the tenders on draft day in order to participate in the draft. I believe rookie minmum this coming season is $405,000.00.