Chicago Bears defensive tackle Tommie Harris has a clause in his contract calling for an $8 million roster bonus in 2012, but that bonus amount is reduced by $1.5 million every year he plays less than 74 percent of the Bears’ defensive snaps.
For the second consecutive year, Harris fell short of the 74 percent mark in 2009, and as a result that bonus is now down to $5 million.
Brad Biggs of the Chicago Tribune reports that Harris was on the field for 607 of the Bears’ 1,068 defensive snaps (56.8 percent) in 2009. To reach the 74 percent mark, Harris would have had to play 184 more snaps than he did.
Harris was benched for the game against the Cincinnati Bengals and ejected early in the game against the Arizona Cardinals, but even if he had played a full game on both of those occasions, he wouldn’t have reached 74 percent for the season.
The way NFL defensive linemen are rotated, playing 74 percent of the defensive snaps is a tall order for any defensive tackle, and Harris has only played 74 percent of the Bears’ defensive snaps once in his six-year career.
It’s entirely possible that by 2012, Harris either won’t be with the Bears or will have restructured his contract. But as of right now, the calculations for the 2009 season are in, and Harris’s 2012 roster bonus decreased by $1.5 million.