Teams often include “likely to be earned” incentives or likely to achieve escalators into a player’s contract.
Some of these benchmarks are almost impossible to miss. The player basically just has to show up, and the money should be his.
When deposed Jets defensive end Vernon Gholston restructured his contract last offseason, his agent included a $9 million escalator in the deal.
According to ESPN’s Adam Schefter, Gholston just had to record one sack or forced fumble or fumble recovery to reach the escalator. So if Gholston had one lucky bounce of the ball go his way, his salary in 2011 would have ballooned $9 million, forcing the Jets to cut him.
Gholston wound up achieving his status as an unrestricted free agent the old fashioned way. Guys that don’t record a sack or forced fumble in three seasons don’t tend to stick around.