Big bonus awaits Tony Gonzalez

After last night’s announcement of the Pro Bowl rosters, I took a look at some contracts to see if anyone in the NFC South cashed in big. We’ll wait a moment for the results of that because I stumbled onto something I found more interesting.

GonzalezGonzalezAtlanta tight end Tony Gonzalez made the Pro Bowl. He didn’t have any incentive clauses for that, but Gonzalez is on the verge of getting a very nice check. Probably due to his age (34), Gonzalez and the Falcons structured his contract to reward him if he remains durable.

If Gonzalez is active for Sunday’s regular-season finale against Carolina, he will receive a $500,000 bonus. The way the contract was structured, Gonzalez was scheduled to receive a $31,250 bonus for every game he’s been active this season. So far, he’s been active for all 15 games.

Now, back to the Pro Bowl stuff. Atlanta receiver Roddy White probably began triggering escalators for later in his contract by being selected to the Pro Bowl. I don’t have all the specifics, but White can earn a total of up to $5 million extra from Pro Bowl berths over the course of his contract.

He’s really the only NFC South player who gets any direct financial benefit from this season’s Pro Bowl selection.

Interestingly enough, the guy who probably was the biggest Pro Bowl snub in the NFC South has some unique provisions in his contract. That’s Tampa Bay offensive tackle Donald Penn. He didn’t lose anything by not making the Pro Bowl this year. But the rest of the years on Penn’s contract, which runs through 2015, have Pro Bowl bonuses that can earn him up to a total of $5.5 million. That, along with this year’s snub, should provide plenty of incentive for Penn to make future Pro Bowls. One other interesting thing in Penn’s contract. It contains a weight clause, which is not an uncommon stipulation for a lineman.

The Bucs list Penn at 305 and his deal includes a $600,000 bonus each year if he keeps his weight under a certain level. Not sure exactly what the weight line is, but it’s safe to say the Bucs structured the deal that way to make sure Penn stays in shape.