In this post, we are going over everything you will ever need to know about how progression, XP, and skill points work in franchise mode.

Developing the right guys can mean the difference between an elite team and a mediocre team in Madden 21. This post should give you all of the information you need to make the right choices.

We’ll start off with the basics.

How much XP each skill point costs is determined by 3 different factors: Age, overall, and development trait.

The lower your age and overall, the less XP each skill point will cost. The higher your development trait, the cheaper it is to upgrade your player.

We’ve built a handy tool for anyone in a Madden 21 franchise that you can use below. It tells you how much XP it costs to upgrade any player 1 skill point based on his overall rating, age, and development trait. At the end of the article, we’ll go over our actionable takeaways for your Madden 21 franchise.

How Development Trait Impacts Skill Points

Let’s start off with going over development traits because that is the easiest and most straight forward factor.

Normal development players cost the most XP per skill point, Star Dev players cost 25% less for each skill point, and Superstar and Superstar X-Factor players cost 50% less for each skill point.

The easiest way to explain this is using an example.

If a normal dev player costs 10,000 XP to go up 1 skill point, then that same player would cost only 7,500 XP if he was star dev, and only 5,000 XP if he had a superstar or SSX dev trait.

If a normal dev player costs 8,000 XP to go up 1 skill point, that same player would only cost 6,000 XP if he was star dev and only 4,000 XP if he had a superstar or SSX dev trait.

That is why you’ll notice that it is so much easier to upgrade superstars rather than normal dev players. Given the same amount of XP, they will get twice as many skill points.

How Age Impacts Skill Points

It is common sense if you’ve played in a Madden franchise before that the younger a player is, the easier he is to progress.

But we spent the time collecting a ton of data and going through it all to find out exactly how it works.

There are 2 major cutoffs for age where after you get to that age, skill points become much more expensive. Those ages are 25, and 28.

The way we went about figuring this out was we kept a player’s overall and development trait consistent and edited his age by 1 at a time. The following results are for a 77 overall normal dev quarterback but the percentage change is what matters and it applies to every player in the game.

Cost to Go Up 1 Skill Point On A 77 Overall Normal Dev Player

  • 20 Year Old – 8505 XP
  • 21 Year Old – 8977 XP (5.55% increase)
  • 22 Year Old – 9072 XP (1.05% increase)
  • 23 Year Old – 9261 XP (2.08% increase)
  • 24 Year Old – 9450 XP (2.04% increase)
  • 25 Year Old – 10962 XP (16% increase)
  • 26 Year Old – 12568 XP (14.65% increase)
  • 27 Year Old – 14175 XP (12.78% increase)
  • 28 Year Old – 19656 XP (38.66% increase)
  • 29 Year Old – 25137 XP (27.88% increase)
  • 30 Year Old – 30172 XP (22.18% increase)
  • 31 Year Old – 39312 XP (28% increase)
  • 32 Year Old – 48006 XP (22.11% increase)
  • 33 Year Old – 56700 XP (18.11% increase)

You can see from the table above that it is pretty much the same to go up a skill point from the age of 20-24 (although 20 year olds definitely see a big benefit).

Then once you hit 25 years old, it is 16% more expensive to go up 1 skill point than it was when you were 24. At 26 years old, it is ~14% more expensive to go up 1 skill point than it was when you were 25 and at 27 years old it is ~12% more expensive to go up 1 skill point than it was when you were 26.

Those are big jumps but not nearly as big as the ~38% jump from 27 to 28 years old. Once you get to 28 years old, you are pretty much done with your development.

How Overall Rating Impacts Skill Points

Next up, we are going to talk about how overall rating impacts progression. Let’s start out with the basics.

The only rating that matters for this is your highest overall rating.

In Madden 21 each position has specific archetypes that you can develop your player in. For example with quarterbacks you have 4 different overall ratings: Strong Arm, Field General, Improviser, and Scrambler.

The only rating that matters here is the highest one. So if you have a QB that is an 80 overall Strong Arm, 70 overall Field General, 68 overall Improviser, and 65 Overall Scrambler, it will cost you the same XP to upgrade him as a different quarterback who is an 80 overall Strong Arm, 80 overall Field General, 80 overall Improviser, and 80 overall Scrambler.

The 2nd quarterback will have significantly better individual ratings than the 1st quarterback but he will cost the exact same to upgrade. This is something to keep in mind as you decide which archetype to upgrade with your skill points.

Let’s dive into the actual numbers.

There is a floor at 50 overall. That is the absolute cheapest you can get skill points and any overall below that will not result in any cheaper skill points.

The absolute cheapest skill point in the game is when you are 50 overall or below, 20 years old,  and are a superstar or superstar x-factor. If you meet all of those criteria, it will only cost you 1350 XP to get a skill point. You cannot get any cheaper than that.

The absolute most expensive skill point in the game is when you are a 99 overall, 40 or more years old, and are a normal player. That will cost you 225,000 XP per skill point.

Below we will run you through a table of how much XP it costs to a 20 year old normal dev player at each different overall rating. Note: The percentage increase in XP that we call out applies to any age player.

Also, if the player is a star just multiply the XP number by .75 and if he is a superstar or SSX multiply it by .5.

Cost To Go Up 1 Skill Point On A Normal Dev 20 Year Old

  • 48 Overall – 2700 XP
  • 49 Overall – 2700 XP
  • 50 Overall – 2700 XP
  • 51 Overall – 2745 XP (1.66% increase)
  • 52 Overall – 2835 XP (3.27% increase)
  • 53 Overall – 2925 XP (3.17% increase)
  • 54 Overall – 3015 XP (3.07% increase)
  • 55 Overall – 3105 XP (2.98% increase)
  • 56 Overall – 3105 XP (0% increase)
  • 57 Overall – 3150 XP (1.44% increase)
  • 58 Overall – 3195 XP (1.42% increase)
  • 59 Overall – 3240 XP (1.40% increase)
  • 60 Overall – 3285 XP (1.38% increase)
  • 61 Overall – 3375 XP (2.73% increase)
  • 62 Overall – 3510 XP (4% increase)
  • 63 Overall – 3600 XP (2.56% increase)
  • 64 Overall – 3735 XP (3.75% increase)
  • 65 Overall – 3870 XP (3.61% increase)
  • 66 Overall – 4230 XP (9.3% increase)
  • 67 Overall – 4590 XP (8.51% increase)
  • 68 Overall – 4950 XP (7.84% increase)
  • 69 Overall – 5310 XP (7.27% increase)
  • 70 Overall – 5715 XP (7.62% increase)
  • 71 Overall – 6120 XP (7.08% increase)
  • 72 Overall – 6570 XP (7.35% increase)
  • 73 Overall – 7020 XP (6.84% increase)
  • 74 Overall – 7470 XP (6.41% increase)
  • 75 Overall – 7920 XP (6.02% increase)
  • 76 Overall – 8190 XP (3.4% increase)
  • 77 Overall – 8505 XP (3.84% increase)
  • 78 Overall – 8820 XP (3.7% increase)
  • 79 Overall – 9135 XP (3.57% increase)
  • 80 Overall – 9450 XP (3.44% increase)
  • 81 Overall – 10080 XP (6.66% increase)
  • 82 Overall – 10710 XP (6.25% increase)
  • 83 Overall – 11340 XP (5.88% increase)
  • 84 Overall – 11970 XP (5.55% increase)
  • 85 Overall – 12645 XP (5.63% increase)
  • 86 Overall – 13185 XP (4.27% increase)
  • 87 Overall – 13770 XP (4.43% increase)
  • 88 Overall – 14355 XP (4.24% increase)
  • 89 Overall – 14940 XP (4.07% increase)
  • 90 Overall – 15525 XP (3.91% increase)
  • 91 Overall – 16650 XP (3.61% increase)
  • 92 Overall – 17775 XP (7.24% increase)
  • 93 Overall – 18945 XP (6.75% increase)
  • 94 Overall – 20070 XP (6.58% increase)
  • 95 Overall – 21240 XP (5.82% increase)
  • 96 Overall – 21555 XP (1.48% increase)
  • 97 Overall – 21870 XP (1.46% increase)
  • 98 Overall – 22185 XP (1.44% increase)
  • 99 Overall – 22500 XP (1.41% increase)

Let’s talk a little about what these numbers mean.

The first big jump we see is once a player gets to 65 overall. Up until then each incremental skill point was relatively cheap. Each skill point cost about 3% more (sometimes less) than the one before it.

From 66 overall to 75 overall, each incremental skill point costs somewhere between 6-9% more than the one before it.

Once you get to 76-80 overall though, each incremental skill point only costs between 3-4% more than the one before it.

At 81-95 overall, each incremental skill point costs somewhere between 4-7% more than the one before it.

At 96 overall and above, it becomes easy again with each skill point only costing a little over 1% more than the one before it.

Honestly none of this makes a whole lot of sense as to why it was done this way but we can confirm that this is how it works.

This might all seem like a bunch of numbers that don’t mean anything but we have some actionable takeaways.

Actionable Takeaways And Other Information

The first takeaway is pretty obvious but development traits play a huge role in progression. If you have a player that you want to become good, you need to do everything in your power to make him a Superstar.

The 2nd takeaway we found is to get rid of your 24 year olds and your 27 year olds. They are about to hit a massive wall and will not progress very fast once they become a year older. Trade them before they hit that wall.

The 3rd takeaway we found is if you plan on spending your skill points on an archetype that is not what your highest overall rating is, you will ideally want to do that before a player gets to 65 overall or between 76 and 80 overall. Obviously the sooner you can do it, the better.

The 4th takeaway is just how much more valuable 20 and 21 year old rookies are than 23 and 24 year old rookies. 24 year old rookies are undraftable no matter how much value you think they have. They only have 1 year of getting any sort of reasonable progression.

On a related note, years in the league do not matter. A 23 year old in his 3rd year will cost the same to upgrade as a 23 year old rookie (all else being equal). There is no benefit whatsoever to being a rookie outside of some of the award XP you are eligible for.

Another useful piece of information we found is that while a rookie has a “Hidden” dev trait, he will receive the treatment of a Superstar dev player (even if he is only Star). This is a good thing and will help you tremendously. Sometimes a “Hidden” dev player can glitch out an be stuck at 0/500 snaps. If he only has a star development trait, you will want to leave him glitched for the entire first season to wrack up quicker skill points.