No player has benefitted more from the NFL’s performance-based pay system than Bengals linebacker Vontaze Burfict, who has nearly doubled his pay over the last two years.
The performance-based pay system rewards players who make low salaries but get a lot of playing time, and Burfict personifies that more than anyone else in the NFL: An undrafted rookie in 2013 who makes the league minimum, Burfict has been a starter for the Bengals for both of his years in the league.
Last year, Burfict led all NFL players in performance-based pay, making $299,465 (his salary was $390,000). This year, Burfict’s performance-based pay was even better: Burfict gets an additional bonus of $315,848.
The NFL and NFLPA agreed last year that actual issuance of the 2013 performance-based pay will be delayed by two years, from March 2014 to March 2016.
Thus, Burfict already has received the $299,465 from 2012. He’ll get the $315,848 in 2016.
By the time Burfict sees that money, he will likely have signed his second NFL contract, one that pays him like the solid starter that he is, not like the undrafted free agent that he was.