NFL Performance-Based Pay Distribution

Players out performing their contracts receive bonus

NFL Players will receive $134.16 million in “Performance-Based Pay” for their performance during the 2017 season, the NFL announced today. The Performance-Based Pay program is a collectively-bargained benefit that compensates all players, including rookies, based upon their playing time and salary levels.

In addition to the Performance-Based Pay pool, the NFL Players Association has elected to dedicate $35.2 million in benefits (i.e., $1.1 million per club) to fund a Veteran Performance-Based Compensation Pool (the “Veteran Pool”) for players with more than one accrued season. In total, $169.36 million will be disbursed to players under the combined pools.

Tennessee Titans’ guard QUINTON SPAIN earned the highest amount of all NFL players, both in the Performance-Based Payprogram, as well as the Veteran Pool. Under the combined pools, Spain will receive $489,782. Spain, a 2015 undrafted free agent out of West Virginia, played in 14 games for the Titans this season, starting all games in which he played. He played in 85.71% of Tennessee’s offensive plays, as well 13.08% of the Titans’ special teams plays, while earning the league minimum salary for a player with two credited seasons. See the tables below for the top 25 bonuses in each category.

Players have been paid nearly $1.4 billion cumulatively since the inception of the Performance-Based Pay program, which was implemented as part of the NFL’s 2002 Collective Bargaining Agreement with the NFL Players Association, and continues as part of the parties’ current agreement.

The Veteran Pool is a component of the Rookie Redistribution Fund, which is a player benefit that was created under the 2011 Collective Bargaining Agreement. The NFL Players Association elected to fund the Veteran Pool for the first time in 2016 and extended the benefit for the 2017 season.

 

HOW PERFORMANCE-BASED PAY WORKS

Under the Performance-Based Pay program, a fund is created and used as a supplemental form of player compensation based on a comparison of playing time to salary. Players become eligible to receive a bonus distribution in any regular season in which they play at least one official down.  In general, players with higher playtime percentages and lower salaries benefit most from the pools.

Performance-Based Pay is computed by using a player index (“Index”). To produce the Index, a player’s regular-season playtime (total plays on offense, defense and special teams) is divided by his adjusted regular-season compensation (full season salary, prorated portion of signing bonus, earned incentives). Each player’s Index is then compared to those of the other players on his team to determine the amount of his Performance-Based Pay.

The Veteran Pool is computed in a similar manner, with two significant modifications: 1) players with zero accrued seasons are not eligible to receive distributions, however, such players remain eligible to receive distributions under the Performance-Based Pay program; and 2) to calculate the eligible player’s Index, if the player’s full-season base salary is less than $1 million, an additional amount will be imputed so that the player’s base salary equals $1 million. By imputing a minimum of $1 million to the denominator of the Veteran Pool’s index calculation (playtime divided by salary), a slightly higher percentage of the pool is directed to high-performing veteran players whose salaries exceed $1 million but are not among the highest in the league, as contemplated by the formula.  This imputation of salary is solely for the purpose of calculating distributions from the pool, and does not affect the actualsalary paid to the player under his contract.

ILLUSTRATION OF PERFORMANCE-BASED PAY SYSTEM

Each player on the same team com­petes for his own share of his club’s Performance-Based Pay pool. The hypothetical example in the table below illustrates how the Player Index works, using a simplified four-player team and a club bonus pool of $1,000,000. Each player receives his share of the pool depending on how his Index compares to those of his teammates.

 

A

Playtime

B

Compensation

C

Index**

(A/B)

D

% of Club Bonus Pool

(C/Team Total C)

E

Hypothetical Bonus

(D * $1,000,000)

Player A

50%

$     500,000

10.0

50% of the Club’s pool (10 out of 20)

50% * $1,000,000 = $500,000

Player B

50%

$  1,000,000

5.0

25% of the Club’s pool (5 out of 20)

25% * $1,000,000 = $250,000

Player C

20%

$     500,000

4.0

20% of the Club’s pool (4 out of 20)

20% * $1,000,000 = $200,000

Player D

10%

$  1,000,000

1.0

5% of the Club’s pool (1 out of 20)

          5% * $1,000,000 =     $50,000

Team Total:

20.0 Points

 

** Index is multiplied by 107for legibility purposes only​

TOP 25 PERFORMANCE-BASED PAY DISTRIBUTIONS FOR 2017

 

PLAYER

 

CLUB

 

POS

 

COLLEGE

ROOKIE

YEAR

DRAFT

ROUND

 

DISTRIBUTION

1

Quinton Spain

Tennessee

G

West Virginia

2015

UDFA

$ 385,490.95

2

Wes Schweitzer

Atlanta

G

San Jose State

2016

6

$ 376,698.80

3

Jalen Mills

Philadelphia

CB

LSU

2016

7

$ 364,744.97

4

Anthony Brown

Dallas

CB

Purdue

2016

6

$ 345,299.22

5

Keelan Cole

Jacksonville

WR

Kentucky Wesleyan

2017

UDFA

$ 344,998.87

6

Nicholas Morrow

Oakland

LB

Greenville

2017

UDFA

$ 337,312.82

7

Eddie Jackson

Chicago

S

Alabama

2017

4

$ 334,782.65

8

John Wetzel

Arizona

T

Boston College

2013

UDFA

$ 333,603.68

9

Kevin Byard

Tennessee

S

Middle Tennessee

2016

3

$ 333,066.93

10

Mike Hilton

Pittsburgh

CB

Mississippi

2016

UDFA

$ 327,377.67

11

Daryl Williams

Carolina

T

Oklahoma

2015

4

$ 321,834.89

12

Jayon Brown

Tennessee

LB

UCLA

2017

5

$ 321,425.69

13

Trevor Williams

LA Chargers

CB

Penn State

2016

UDFA

$ 316,820.42

14

Shaq Mason

New England

G

Georgia Tech

2015

4

$ 314,837.80

15

Ricardo Allen

Atlanta

S

Purdue

2014

5

$ 313,711.25

16

Dak Prescott

Dallas

QB

Mississippi State

2016

4

$ 313,406.43

17

Trey Hopkins

Cincinnati

G

Texas

2014

UDFA

$ 310,435.00

18

Jesse Davis

Miami

G/T

Idaho

2015

UDFA

$ 308,989.36

19

Spencer Pulley

LA Chargers

C

Vanderbilt

2016

UDFA

$ 304,021.36

20

Tyler Larsen

Carolina

C

Utah State

2014

UDFA

$ 299,594.37

21

Joe Thuney

New England

G

North Carolina State

2016

3

$ 296,620.57

22

Ken Crawley

New Orleans

CB

Colorado

2016

UDFA

$ 295,826.77

23

Jesse James

Pittsburgh

TE

Penn State

2015

5

$ 293,971.07

24

Halapoulivaati Vaitai

Philadelphia

T

TCU

2016

5

$ 293,132.51

25

Blake Martinez

Green Bay

LB

Stanford

2016

4

$ 291,170.83

UDFA – Undrafted free agent

 

TOP 25 BONUSES IN VETERAN PERFORMANCE-BASED COMPENSATION

 

 

PLAYER

 

CLUB

 

POS

 

COLLEGE

ROOKIE

YEAR

DRAFT

ROUND

 

DISTRIBUTION

1

Quinton Spain

Tennessee

G

West Virginia

2015

UDFA

 $ 104,291.40

2

Kevin Byard

Tennessee

S

Middle Tennessee

2016

3

 $ 100,588.09

3

Blake Martinez

Green Bay

LB

Stanford

2016

4

 $   93,219.71

4

Jalen Mills

Philadelphia

CB

LSU

2016

7

 $   92,695.20

5

Anthony Brown

Dallas

CB

Purdue

2016

6

 $   92,391.27

6

Dontae Johnson

San Francisco

CB

North Carolina State

2014

4

 $   91,021.05

7

Graham Glasgow

Detroit

G

Michigan

2016

3

 $   89,630.21

8

Wes Schweitzer

Atlanta

G

San Jose State

2016

6

 $   89,366.46

9

Matthias Farley

Indianapolis

S

Notre Dame

2016

UDFA

 $   88,669.91

10

A.J. Cann

Jacksonville

G

South Carolina

2015

3

 $   87,905.02

11

Dak Prescott

Dallas

QB

Mississippi State

2016

4

 $   87,599.82

12

Joe Schobert

Cleveland

LB

Wisconsin

2016

4

 $   87,456.29

13

Trevor Williams

LA Chargers

CB

Penn State

2016

UDFA

 $   87,290.83

14

Kenny Wiggins

LA Chargers

G

Fresno State

2011

UDFA

 $   87,217.41

15

Jesse James

Pittsburgh

TE

Penn State

2015

5

 $   84,822.88

16

Shaq Mason

New England

G

Georgia Tech

2015

4

 $   84,801.75

17

Matt Paradis

Denver

C

Boise State

2014

6

 $   84,709.48

18

Spencer Pulley

LA Chargers

C

Vanderbilt

2016

UDFA

 $   83,810.99

19

Jacoby Brissett

Indianapolis

QB

North Carolina State

2016

3

 $   83,750.43

20

Daryl Williams

Carolina

T

Oklahoma

2015

4

 $   83,592.18

21

Brett Jones

NY Giants

C

Regina / Canada

2015

UDFA

 $   83,482.96

22

Joe Haeg

Indianapolis

G/T

North Dakota State

2016

5

 $   82,977.72

23

Ricardo Allen

Atlanta

S

Purdue

2014

5

 $   82,423.85

24

Patrick Robinson

Philadelphia

CB

Florida State

2010

1

 $   82,299.68

25

Jamon Brown

LA Rams

G

Louisville

2015

3

 $   81,340.80

  UDFA – Undrafted free agent

TOP 25 COMBINED TOTAL (PERFORMANCE-BASED PAY AND VETERAN PERFORMANCE-BASED COMPENSATION)

 

PLAYER

 

CLUB

 

POS

 

COLLEGE

ROOKIE

YEAR

DRAFT

ROUND

REGULAR PBP

VETERAN PBP

COMBINED DISTRIBUTION

1

Quinton Spain

Tennessee

G

West Virginia

2015

UDFA

$ 385,490.95

$ 104,291.40

$ 489,782.35

2

Wes Schweitzer

Atlanta

G

San Jose State

2016

6

$ 376,698.80

$   89,366.46

$ 466,065.26

3

Jalen Mills

Philadelphia

CB

LSU

2016

7

$ 364,744.97

$   92,695.20

$ 457,440.17

4

Anthony Brown

Dallas

CB

Purdue

2016

6

$ 345,299.22

$   92,391.27

$ 437,690.49

5

Kevin Byard

Tennessee

S

Middle Tennessee

2016

3

$ 333,066.93

$ 100,588.09

$ 433,655.02

6

John Wetzel

Arizona

T

Boston College

2013

UDFA

$ 333,603.68

$   78,150.04

$ 411,753.72

7

Daryl Williams

Carolina

T

Oklahoma

2015

4

$ 321,834.89

$   83,592.18

$ 405,427.07

8

Trevor Williams

LA Chargers

CB

Penn State

2016

UDFA

$ 316,820.42

$   87,290.83

$ 404,111.25

9

Dak Prescott

Dallas

QB

Mississippi State

2016

4

$ 313,406.43

$   87,599.82

$ 401,006.25

10

Shaq Mason

New England

G

Georgia Tech

2015

4

$ 314,837.80

$   84,801.75

$ 399,639.55

11

Ricardo Allen

Atlanta

S

Purdue

2014

5

$ 313,711.25

$   82,423.85

$ 396,135.10

12

Trey Hopkins

Cincinnati

G

Texas

2014

UDFA

$ 310,435.00

$   78,705.77

$ 389,140.77

13

Spencer Pulley

LA Chargers

C

Vanderbilt

2016

UDFA

$ 304,021.36

$   83,810.99

$ 387,832.35

14

Blake Martinez

Green Bay

LB

Stanford

2016

4

$ 291,170.83

$   93,219.71

$ 384,390.54

15

Jesse James

Pittsburgh

TE

Penn State

2015

5

$ 293,971.07

$   84,822.88

$ 378,793.95

16

Ken Crawley

New Orleans

CB

Colorado

2016

UDFA

$ 295,826.77

$   78,770.57

$ 374,597.34

17

Graham Glasgow

Detroit

G

Michigan

2016

3

$ 284,719.38

$   89,630.21

$ 374,349.59

18

Joe Thuney

New England

G

North Carolina State

2016

3

$ 296,620.57

$   76,487.59

$ 373,108.16

19

Matt Paradis

Denver

C

Boise State

2014

6

$ 286,994.05

$   84,709.48

$ 371,703.53

20

Halapoulivaati Vaitai

Philadelphia

T

TCU

2016

5

$ 293,132.51

$   76,606.34

$ 369,738.85

21

Tyler Larsen

Carolina

C

Utah State

2014

UDFA

$ 299,594.37

$   63,648.92

$ 363,243.29

22

Matthias Farley

Indianapolis

S

Notre Dame

2016

UDFA

$ 269,426.45

$   88,669.91

$ 358,096.36

23

James Bradberry

Carolina

CB

Samford

2016

2

$ 279,160.17

$   74,637.30

$ 353,797.47

24

Will Parks

Denver

S

Arizona

2016

6

$ 275,592.65

$   72,994.20

$ 348,586.85

25

De’Vondre Campbell

Atlanta

LB

Minnesota

2016

4

$ 275,142.60

$   70,155.96

$ 345,298.56

UDFA – Undrafted free agent

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