LaDarius Gunter, Sam Shields on opposite ends of performance payouts

GREEN BAY, Wis. -- No one had a tougher job for the Green Bay Packers down the stretch than LaDarius Gunter. In consecutive weeks, the second-year cornerback was charged with covering Odell Beckham Jr., Dez Bryant and Julio Jones.

Regardless of what you think of his performance -- and by most accounts, it was up and down -- Gunter took on a much larger role than perhaps anyone expected.

For his efforts, he was rewarded as the top earner among Packers players in the annual performance-based pay distributions. Gunter collected a total of $383,461.76, according to NFL Management Council data distributed to teams. Each team paid out $3.995 million plus an additional $1 million to non-rookies. Gunter received $306,388.79 from the main pool and another $77,072.97 from the smaller pool.

On the other end of the spectrum was Sam Shields, who never played after he sustained a concussion in the regular-season opener. His $1,460.54 will be his last paycheck from the Packers, who released him last month.

The system typically benefits players in their first NFL contracts, or minimum-salaried free-agent signings who become significant contributors.

Among the Packers’ rookies, undrafted safety Kentrell Brice received the biggest payout -- $205,499.46.

It’s rare for a veteran player to be high on the list, but in 2015 receiver James Jones led the Packers at more than $250,000 because he was playing on a minimum-salary contract and ended up leading the team in receiving yards.

Below is the full list of payouts that Packers players received in this year’s performance-based pay. The total pay is the combination of the two pools, where applicable. For comparison, last year’s payouts can be found here.