Contracts and incentives

For any number of reasons, teams choose to build incentives into players' contracts, with some tied to production, others playing time, personal accolades and more.

For the Patriots, there are four players of note who have unique contract stipulations tied to their performance, the context of which is highlighted below.

Wide receiver Danny Amendola

Stipulation: Amendola has a roster bonus that tops out at $500,000 for the season, meaning each game that he is on the 46-man roster, he is paid $31,250 on top of his base salary. By being deactivated on Thursday night, Amendola missed out on the bonus for that week.

Wide receiver Julian Edelman

Stipulation: Edelman's contract has a base salary of $715,000, but he has incentives tied into his receptions, too. If Edelman reaches 30 catches this season, he earns $30,000, 40 catches lands him $70,000, 50 catches equates to $120,000, 60 turns into $180,000 and 70 catches tops him out at $250,000 (note: he earns just one bonus, not the sum of each benchmark he surpasses). With 20 catches already, Edelman should have little trouble meeting some of those benchmarks provided he stays healthy.

Offensive tackle Sebastian Vollmer

Stipulation: Vollmer's contract includes a play-and-get-paid stipulation, as he is set to earn an additional $750,000 if he plays 90 percent of the snaps this season. So far, so good, as he's been on the field throughout the course of the first two games.

Defensive back Marquice Cole

Stipulation: Cole can earn up to $285,000 in incentives by playing 45 percent of the defensive snaps, but a more attainable scenario is playing 25 percent, which would lead to a $95,000 bonus. It's perhaps a long shot either way, as Cole has yet to take a defensive snap this season.