Jake Bailey’s proven performance escalator makes him NFL’s highest-paid punter

New England Patriots v Indianapolis Colts
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Patriots punter Jake Bailey is one of the biggest beneficiaries of the proven performance escalators that were included in the league’s Collective Bargaining Agreement.

A fifth-round draft pick in 2019, Bailey would ordinarily make $965,000 this year, the fourth and final year of his rookie contract. But the CBA’s proven performance escalator provides significant pay raises to non-first-round draft picks who make a Pro Bowl within their first three NFL seasons.

Bailey was chosen to the Pro Bowl after the 2020 season, which means his base salary increases to $3,986,000 in 2022. That’s a pay raise of more than $3 million for that Pro Bowl selection. For all the talk about how irrelevant the Pro Bowl has become, it matters a lot to some players, and Bailey is one of them.

In fact, as noted by Mike Reiss of ESPN, Bailey will actually be the NFL’s highest-paid punter this season. (Seahawks punter Michael Dickson has a higher cap number than Bailey, but in terms of the money Bailey is scheduled to get paid this year, he’s No. 1.)

There is one potential drawback to this for Bailey, however: His salary is not guaranteed. Which means the Patriots may decide he’s not worth the money, and either cut him or use the threat of cutting him to squeeze him to sign a team-friendly contract extension.

Still, Bailey could have been cut with his $965,000 salary, too. The proven performance escalator has him much better-positioned heading into 2022.

21 responses to “Jake Bailey’s proven performance escalator makes him NFL’s highest-paid punter

  1. He was also All Pro in 2020, which means much more than the Pro Bowl. I think he was battling injury last year. Terrific punter, and we all know how important field position is, especially to Belichick. I’ve been to camp practices. You would not believe the hang time on his punts. Pats have plenty of other ways to create cap room. They’re in the cheap rookie QB zone. Let’s see what they do with it.

  2. Great young directional punter but BB will draft another punter this year if he doesn’t take a cheap contract for his excellent talent. Remember he kicks off too because Folk is older.

  3. But the haters say the Patriots are too cheap and players hate Belichick. Logic and empirical evidence means little to posters with an agenda.

  4. A rookie contract punter should never become the highest paid punter in football.

  5. Patriots are cheap is the biggest myth in sports. Pats spend close to the cap almost every year. Belichick just doesn’t give 2nd , 3rd, 4th contracts to players based on past production. He lets them walk. He pays for value and depth. One of BB’s biggest legacies will be having a business model at the beginning of the salary cap era that was way ahead of the curve. Took the league 10 yrs to catch up. He assigned value to certain positions and players and stuck to his guns. Despite what the press, fans and departing players had to say. Granted he got players to come here because they were winning, but who’s responsible for that.

  6. What’s the point of the escalator clause if teams don’t have to honor the contract by cutting players?

  7. The escalator clause is a good thing for non 1rst round players. It’s a 3mil dollar bump for Bailey. Sure, the Pats could cut him if they choose. I doubt it, they probably extend him. Even if the Pats cut him, I doubt Bailey will be washing cars or serving fries this fall.

  8. BB does it again. You have to wonder how far off Damien Harris, Stevenson, Mac Jones or Barmore are from being All Pro themselves along with Gunner Olzcewski as well as a punt returner.

    Talent everywhere on the club.

  9. You have to wonder how far off Damien Harris,
    ——
    Not if he can’t stay healthy. Wouldn’t surprise me if the Patriots move on from him soon for that reason.

  10. The Pats will not pay that much for a punter. “the pro bowl matters” – the selection of players to the PB does matter. The flag football game of people walking around does not.

  11. tigerlilac says:
    March 6, 2022 at 9:10 am
    But the haters say the Patriots are too cheap and players hate Belichick. Logic and empirical evidence means little to posters with an agenda
    ————
    Your 1 with an agenda. I’m not saying the Patriots are cheap or players dont like Belichick BUT nowhere is there any proof of either side here. This isnt a contract the Patriots gave a player and as pointed out in the article theres no guarantee the Patriots wont try to force him to take a pay cut.

  12. Ted murph said it well. It’s a myth the Patriots are cheap.

    Pardon my sarcasm above but my point is the same. Ted outlined the logic and empirical evidence.

    Sorry Swami, I don’t think we need to look at Bailey’s contract in isolation for proof.

    By the way, the Pats cut a veteran punter who was instrumental in winning a low scoring super bowl to keep Bailey. That didn’t mean they were cheap either.

  13. But the haters say the Patriots are too cheap and players hate Belichick. Logic and empirical evidence means little to posters with an agenda.

    =======

    You can say all this after the season is over. Pats can still cut/trade him

  14. Bailey had a down year last year probably because of injuries but he’ll be getting some competition in camp either way.

  15. Seems “proven performance escalator” should be a bonus automatically added to previous year to make they really get it.

  16. I am happy to see punters get a good salary. A great punter can pin back the offense. I expect amazing accomplishments from Matt Arazia from San Diego State. I believe he will go in the 3rd round. Worst case scenario Miami picks him up in the 5th round. There are only a handful of players that change the sport. I believe Coach Crossman and Coach MacDaniel have the guts and vision to utilize the punter as a defensive player on punts. Matt Arazia has proven he can tackle. If allowed he will change the game with speed and ability.

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