Nobody ever complains about an extra check. But for NFL players, mid-March, performance-based pay bonuses come in various sizes.
An NFC East starting quarterback, an All-Pro safety and two Super Bowl champions are among the biggest earners in the full list of NFL performance-based pay released Wednesday.
Players will receive a total of $134.16 million in performance-based pay, a collectively bargained benefit that relates directly to players whose salaries didn't necessarily reflect their playing time. There's also a smaller veterans' pool. For the performance-based pay, each NFL team receives $4.1925 million to distribute among its players based on a playing time-salary index from the 2017 season.
A player needs to play only one down to become eligible, so most end up seeing some sort of bonus from this distribution.
This benefit often helps former late-round or undrafted players still on rookie contracts who have earned starting or big playing roles. Some players (such as Tennessee Titans left guard Quinton Spain) got enough to buy their mothers houses, while others (Washington Redskins quarterback Colt McCoy) have just enough to take their significant others on a nice date. Let's take a look:
Quinton Spain, G, Titans; bonus: $385,490.95
Spain, who latched on with Tennessee after going undrafted in 2015 out of West Virginia, started 14 games at guard for the Titans in 2017. Spain's 2017 base salary was $615,000, so the bonus put him over $1 million for the year. He also got engaged on New Year's Eve, so this should help pay for the wedding.
Wes Schweitzer, G, Falcons; bonus: $376,698.80
Another guard, this one a 2016 sixth-round pick, is getting a six-figure check. Schweitzer, who had a $540,000 base salary in 2017, went from playing no games in his rookie season to starting all 16 for a playoff team in 2017.
Jalen Mills, CB, Eagles; bonus: $364,744.97
Full of energy, green hair and a mean swagger, Mills got a Super Bowl ring and almost $365K after starting 16 games and notching three interceptions last season. Mills, who had a $540K base salary, got a similar check ($324K) last year.
Anthony Brown, CB, Cowboys; bonus: $345,299.22
Brown, a 2016 sixth-round pick out of Purdue, is the first of two Cowboys listed here. Brown had a $540K base salary in 2017. He landed his $345K payday after securing a key role in Dallas' secondary and playing all 16 games with 10 starts.
Keelan Cole, WR, Jaguars; bonus: $344,998.87
Cole exploded on the scene as an undrafted rookie, taking advantage of the Jaguars' injuries at receiver. Cole, who had a $465K base salary in 2017, earned his $345K bonus after leading the Jaguars with 748 receiving yards.
Notable: Dak Prescott, QB, Cowboys; bonus: $313,406.43
Prescott's sophomore year didn't go as well as his rookie campaign, but he gets his second consecutive $300K-plus performance-based check. He's a great value for the Cowboys as a starting quarterback who had a $540K base salary in 2017.
Colt McCoy, QB, Redskins; bonus: $193.29
McCoy played in one game, took a knee three times and never threw a pass. For that, he can take his wife out for a Friday night dinner.
Jayrone Elliott, LB, Cowboys; bonus: $201.38
It was one special-teams snap for Elliott in Dallas, then he was cut the next week. He gets a couple hundred bucks for his time.
Orlando Franklin, OL, Redskins; bonus: $224.90
Oh, the dangers of free agency. Franklin signed a five-year, $36 million deal three years ago with the Chargers. He has been cut four times by three different teams since then. This might be enough to cover the post office's address-change fees.
Kendall Langford, DL, Texans; bonus: $267.70
You can't go a summer in Houston without air conditioning, and this might be enough to get the A/C ice-cold.
Darren McFadden, RB, Cowboys; bonus: $273.33
In 2015, McFadden ran for 1,000 yards. In 2017, he got one carry. He retired in November. Here's a retirement gift.
Notable: Teddy Bridgewater, QB, formerly Vikings now Jets; bonus: $781.77
Sam Bradford, QB, formerly Vikings now Cardinals; bonus: $959.62
Bradford has finessed the NFL for $134 million, including his $20 million deal with the Cardinals. His two-game cameo in 2017 got him an extra grand. Some guys can't lose. As for Bridgewater, his much-anticipated, nine-snap return got him enough for at least 15-20 pairs of nice gloves.
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Kirk Cousins, QB, Vikings; bonus: $7,335.79
The man who replaced Bridgewater and Bradford in Minnesota got a check some undrafted rookies wouldn't sneeze over. Cousins should donate this, as he probably won't notice it in his bank account with his $84 million, fully guaranteed deal.
Trey Burton, TE, formerly Eagles now Bears; bonus: $42,958.55
Nick Foles, QB, Eagles; bonus: $25,433.24
This might have meant a little more to Burton last offseason, but he has a Super Bowl ring and a $32 million contract now. Foles won't ever have to buy a beer or a cheesesteak in Philly again, so I'm not sure what else he would need his bonus for.