NFL CBA Series: Performance Incentives
Rookies are very limited in the types of Performance Incentives they can agree to in their contracts. While veterans can receive bonuses for attaining certain individual and team statistics and rankings, rookies can only receive incentives for play time percentage (figured out by dividing player’s total of offensive or defensive plays by the team’s total offensive or defensive plays (Art. 7, Sec. 6, (A) (f), 30). These incentives can also only be earned for a specific percentage and not for improving playtime upon a previous season.
Performance Incentive rules also differ by the round the player was drafted in.
For first- and second-round picks, the minimum amount of playtime a player can be rewarded for is set at 35% in the initial contract year and 45% in any other year of the deal. For players drafted in the third round and later, along with players who go undrafted, the minimum playtime Performance Incentive is set at 15% in the first year and 30% in subsequent years (30).
These incentives can’t be guaranteed for skill, injury, or cap and can only be based on playtime in the current League Year. Earning or failing to earn an incentive cannot modify, nullify, or create another incentive clause (30).
Also, if a player does not reach an incentive, the unearned incentive prohibited from being carried over into a future year. So, if a player has a $50,000 incentive bonus that is unearned, that bonus can’t be added to a $50,000 incentive in the next to create a $100,000 bonus the next season (30).
Any performance incentive that is negotiated into a rookie contract is considered LTBE and considered Rookie Salary for purposes of calculating the Year-One Rookie Allocation, Total Rookie Compensation Pool, Year-One Rookie Compensation Pool, Club’s Total Rookie Allocation, Club’s Year-One Rookie Allocation, and the 25% Rule (30).