BY: ED COLE
GLENDALE, Ariz. – The NFL has a great performance-based pay program that rewards lower-paid players based on their contributions to a team.
For the second straight season, safety Tony Jefferson came away with the biggest bonus of them all for the Cardinals.
Jefferson earned $240,347.71 in performance-based pay – nearly half of the $585,000 he earned last season. Jefferson was given a first right of refusal tender of $1.671 million, but he hasn’t signed it yet.
Jefferson had the fourth most tackles (75) on the defense during the regular season. He also had two interceptions (one returned for touchdown), five passes defensed, three forced fumbles, four tackles for loss and 2.0 sacks. In the two postseason games against the Green Bay Packers and Carolina Panthers, Jefferson had a team-high 19 tackles (two for loss), two passes defensed, and one special teams tackle.
Each team had $3.8 million to dole out to their players from this program.
Tight end Darren Fells was the only other Cardinals player to crack $200,000 in bonus pay. He earned $225,993.84. Fells was fifth on the team in catches (21), yards (311) and touchdowns (three) during the regular season.
Quarterback Drew Stanton earned the lowest performance-based pay: $2,569.88. Stanton played in 4.2 percent of the team’s snaps last season.
There were 13 Cardinals players who earned over $100,000 in performance-based pay last season:
S Tony Jefferson: $240,347.71
TE Darren Fells: $225,993.84
WR John Brown: $190,406.58
S Tyrann Mathieu: $184,240.90
LB Markus Golden: $147,122.81
LB Alex Okafor: $146,471.45
RB David Johnson: $135,439.35
DT Rodney Gunter: $131,969.10
WR Jaron Brown: $130,860.59
ILB Kevin Minter: $130,445.89
DT Josh Mauro: $127,628.52
ILB Alani Fua: $123,264.35
DT Ed Stinson: $120,712.96