PHOENIX -- Starting Patriots center Ryan Wendell earned an additional $179,907 as part of the NFL's performance-based pay system in 2012, according to a source present at the NFL annual meeting at the Arizona Biltmore.
The league's performance-based pay system is part of a fund that was initially created by players and owners in 2002 to reward players that performed well beyond their salaries.
Wendell, who won a multi-player center competition in training camp and had a base salary of $750,000, started every game in 2012. Including special teams, he played more snaps than any lineman in the NFL (1,379).
The 6-foot-2, 300-pound Wendell initially joined the Patriots as a rookie free agent out of Fresno State in 2008. He was on the practice squad for most of the 2008 and 2009 seasons, before breaking through as a backup in 2010 and 2011. Last year was his first as a full-time starter.
Wendell enters the final year of his contract in 2013, and if he plays as well as he did last season, he could be in line for a much bigger pay bump.
A few other quick-hit notes from the NFL's annual meeting:
Belichick and Krafts in the house. Patriots coach Bill Belichick arrived on Sunday, and he is expected to answer questions from reporters on Tuesday morning at the annual media breakfast. Owner Robert Kraft and president Jonathan Kraft also arrived on Sunday, and Kraft is expected to answer questions from media members on Monday. This will be the first time we hear from them since Wes Welker signed with the Broncos. Welker's agent, David Dunn, is also here and we don't expect the sides to be getting together for morning coffee.
Quick scouting report on Svitek. In asking some of the GM types here about veteran offensive lineman Will Svitek, who signed a one-year deal with the Patriots on Sunday, the initial response was that he'd project to a swing tackle role at best. This could be an indication that the Patriots are concerned about their ability to re-sign starting right tackle Sebastian Vollmer, who remains a free-agent.
A little more intel on Jones. The Patriots signed former Bills receiver Donald Jones to a three-year contract on Friday, and word out of Western New York is that the Bills would have liked to keep him but not at $1.3 million, which would have been the amount of his restricted free-agent tender. Previously, it was noted in this space that perhaps Jones wasn't deemed as good of a fit in a new offense being installed under first-year coach Doug Marrone, but it appears the decision was mostly financial-based.