In addition to their regular salaries, NFL players receive performance-based pay bonuses after the season based on a complex formula that includes their base salary and how many plays they were on the field for that season. And in 2022, Eagles safety Marcus Epps cashed in.
Epps earned a performance-based pay bonus of $880,384, the most of any player in the NFL.
The formula that determines performance-based pay considers two things: The player’s salary for the previous season, and how many plays he played in the previous season. Every single player who plays even one snap gets a performance-based pay bonus, but for many players (those with high salaries who don’t play a lot of snaps), that bonus is minuscule. For some players, however, (those with low salaries who play a lot of snaps), the bonus is significant.
Take Epps: In 2022 he was still playing on the rookie contract he originally signed as a sixth-round pick of the Vikings in 2019. So his salary was low by NFL standards at $965,000. But Epps led the Eagles with 1,096 defensive snaps and also played 170 snaps of special teams. The performance-based pay formula is designed to reward players with low salaries who get a lot of playing time, and that’s how Epps got a bonus almost as big as his base salary.
Best of all for Epps, 2022 was the final year of his rookie contract, and he cashed in on his strong season by signing a two-year, $12 million contract with the Raiders this week.
Rounding out the Top 5 in performance-based pay for 2022 were Bengals guard Cordell Volson with $854,407, Jaguars center Luke Fortner with $819,686 Patriots guard Michael Onwenu with $813,083 and Packers guard Jon Runyan with $790,159.