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10 Highly Paid Rookies

For many people, a first job is an entry-level position whose greatest form of payment is experience. People taking these jobs have to slowly climb the ladder and prove themselves before they can earn better money. They have to pay their dues.

For professional athletes, there is no entry-level job—they’re put on the field on day one and are expected to deliver the goods. Rookie athletes are well-compensated for this, and for many sports fans, the players’ salaries and contracts are almost as fascinating as their yards passed or runs batted in.

Rookie athletes receive paydays with no equal in any other field, based solely on the hope that they’ll play as well as they did in college. There is no guarantee this will happen, and some teams pick the wrong rookies and pay dearly for it. But on the off chance they may be signing the next great Hall of Famer, teams keep handing over the money and hoping for the best.

Who are some of the rookie athletes who received huge paydays to play for major league teams? Click ahead to find out.

By Daniel Bukszpan
Posted 13 September 2011

Dilip Vishwanat  | Getty Images