NFL's performance-based pay program

NFL's performance-based pay program

Implemented as part of the 2002 extension to the collective bargaining agreement, the purpose of the PBP program was to establish a fund (with the money coming from league revenues) which primarily supplements salaries of players whose playing time is disproportionate to their compensation.

It is, indeed, one of the best concepts to emanate from the partnership of the NFL and the NFL Players Association, and from their continuing labor peace. Some purists, who feel that players should be paid solely on production, likely view the program as representing little progress toward that lofty and idealistic goal. Truth be told, the PBP program will not eradicate a system in which first-round draft choices pocket millions of dollars before they ever set foot in their first NFL locker room.

The program is, though, a step in the right direction.

In 2002, its first season, the program doled out $472,000 per franchise and three players received bonuses of $40,000 or more. For the '03 season, the payout per team rose to $1 million and there were a whopping 163 players who qualified for checks of $40,000 or more. Eighty-two players will receive checks for $50,000 or more and 20 earned more than $70,000. In addition to Russell and Koppen, linebacker Scott Fujita of the Kansas City Chiefs, will get a bonus of $100,000-plus, with his PBP payment of $113,298.The best collective example of how the PBP, in application, is matching its theoretical purpose: All 20 of the men who qualified for $70,000-plus bonuses under the program were minimum-salary players in 2003, earning between $225,000 and $380,000 based on their years of NFL tenure. And all 20, quite obviously, performed at a level far exceeding those minimum base salaries, and deserved to have their compensation augmented.

Play For Pay: This marks the second year of the "performance based pay" program, instituted between the league and the NFL Players Association as part of the 2002 extension to the collective bargaining agreement, and primarily designed to reward players with minimum salaries but whose 2003 performance exceeded their paychecks. There are 82 players who will collect more than $50,000 each as part of the PBP program. Here is a list of the 20 players:Player Team PBP AmountFS Brian Russell Vikings $114,258LB Scott Fujita Chiefs $113,298C Dan Koppen Patriots $101,521FS Clinton Hart Eagles $96,310OG Dave Diehl Giants $88,320OG Steve Edwards Bears $86,319OG Kyle Kosier 49ers $84,921OT Tom Ashworth Patriots $82,583CB Brian Williams Vikings $80,081CB Lenny Walls Broncos $78,758OT Wade Smith Dolphins $78,180FS Will Demps Ravens $77,864TE Casey Fitzsimmons Lions $77,567FS Ifeanyi Ohalete Redskins $76,986FS Deke Cooper Jaguars $76,398LB D.D. Lewis Seahawks $75,335OT Phil Bogle Chargers $74,754TE Randy McMichael Dolphins $74,352FS Kevin Kaesviharn Bengals $74,155CB Kelly Herndon Broncos $72,204Still, while the PBP program was created to help compensate for salary disparities, every player who logged so much as one snap in '03 is eligible for some money. So the NFL's co-most valuable players for the season, Peyton Manning of Indianapolis and Tennessee's Steve McNair, will receive checks of $1,361 and $4,482, respectively. Rushing champion Jamal Lewis of Baltimore will bank $3,048. And even his Ravens teammate, guard Jason Thomas, who played one-tenth of a percent of the offensive snaps, will receive a check for $63, the league's lowest payment.

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