By Daniel Bukszpan

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.

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Slideshow: Highest paid rookies

For professional athletes, there is no entry-level job -- they're put on the field on Day 1 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.

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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? Here are ten.

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    Sam Bradford

    In his first season in the NFL, the Rams quarterback earned the Offensive Rookie of the Year Award. Despite his outstanding rookie-year performance, it remains to be seen whether the team will get its money's worth: The six-year deal Bradford signed in July 2010 was valued at $78 million, $50 million of which is guaranteed. This was, without exception, the most lucrative contract ever paid to an NFL rookie.

For complete slideshow of high rookie salaries, click here.

-- Check out Sports Biz with Darren Rovell.

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