The Pro Bowl can be about many things to many players. For some, it’s recognition. For others, it’s a lifelong dream realized. And yet for another group of players, it’s a week to hang out with some of the best in the league and to test themselves in an all-star setting.
Being selected for the Pro Bowl also has a tangible benefit: money.
Pro Bowlers can try to leverage the selection when their next contracts are negotiated, but some don’t have to wait. Certain players got a little bit richer Wednesday night –- either immediately or in future years –- when their names were announced, based on deals they already have.
In all, an extra $2.2 million was made by NFL players who were picked for the Pro Bowl, either in roster bonuses or escalators to future salaries, according to Roster Management System.
Miami Dolphins cornerback Xavien Howard was the biggest beneficiary by making his third Pro Bowl, earning a $1 million bonus (all contract numbers provided by Roster Management System). He wasn’t the only corner to cash in. By reaching his first Pro Bowl, Indianapolis Colts cornerback Kenny Moore II earned an extra $250,000 to his base salary for next season – bumping it up to $5.75 million.
Both special teams selections added some money with their Pro Bowl picks -- the New Orleans Saints ’ J.T. Gray, in making his first Pro Bowl, picked up an extra $100,000, as did the New England Patriots ’ Matthew Slater, making his 10th Pro Bowl and third in a row.
Adding bonuses for reaching the Pro Bowl is just one way players, agents and teams work on negotiating contracts to get to terms that satisfy all sides.
Many other players in the league missed out on extra money for not being among the initial selections to the game – most notably Carolina Panthers linebacker Haason Reddick. By not being selected, despite 11 sacks, Reddick misses out on an extra $1 million.