Levi Wallace and Matt Milano got nice bumps in pay from the NFL on Thursday.
The Buffalo Bills' cornerback and linebacker ranked ninth and 10th, respectively, in performance-based pay distributions announced by the league for the 2019 season.
From the NFL: "Under the Performance-Based Pay Program, a fund is created and used as a supplemental form of player compensation based on a comparison of playing time to salary. ... In general, players with higher playtime percentages and lower salaries benefit most from the pools."
Wallace, an undrafted free agent from Alabama who completed his second season, had a base salary of $570,000 in 2019. He made an extra $363,599. Milano, a fifth-round draft pick from Boston College, had an extra $360,498 added to his base salary of $650,000.
Performance-based pay is computed by using a player index, which is produced by taking a player’s regular-season playtime (total plays on offense, defense and special teams) and dividing it by his adjusted regular-season compensation (full-season salary, prorated portion of signing bonus, earned incentives). Each player’s index is then compared to those of the other players on his teamLevi Wallace and Matt Milano got nice bumps in pay from the NFL on Thursday. to determine the amount of his performance-based pay.
According to the NFL, players will receive $147.952 million in performance-based pay for the 2019 season. All players, including rookies, are eligible for the benefit.
Additionally, the NFL Players Association dedicate $83.2 million in benefits ($2.6 million per team) to fund a Veteran Performance-Based Compensation Pool for players with one or more accrued seasons. In total, $231.152 million will be disbursed to players under the combined pools.
Kansas City Chiefs cornerback Charvarius Ward earned the highest distribution of performance-based pay. He earned a total of $654,750, nearly 15% more than his 2019 salary, comprised of the following amounts: $428,335 from the performance-based pay pool, and an additional $226,415 from the veteran pool. Ward, a 2018 undrafted free agent out of Middle Tennessee State, started all 16 games for the Chiefs during the 2019 regular season, playing nearly 95% of the team's defensive plays and nearly 26% of the Chiefs’ special-teams plays. Like Wallace, he earned the league minimum salary for a player with one credited season ($570,000). Ward finished second on the Chiefs with 10 passes defensed and made his first two career interceptions in Kansas City's Super Bowl-winning season.
Milano ranked second behind Patriots center Ted Karras ($242,584) in distributions from the veteran pool, pulling in another $237,672. Wallace ranked 12th in distributions from the veteran pool, making an extra $205,356. Bills left tackle Dion Dawkins ranked 16th in pay distributed from the veteran pool, making an extra $198,095.
When combining the two pools, Milano finished sixth in total distributions, earning an extra $598,171. Wallace was one spot behind in seventh, making $568,954 more.
According to the NFL, players have been paid about $1.8 billion cumulatively since the inception of the Performance-Based Pay Program, which was implemented as part of the NFL’s 2002 Collective Bargaining Agreement with the NFL Players Association. The Veteran Pool is a component of the Rookie Redistribution Fund, which is a player benefit that was created under the 2011 Collective Bargaining Agreement. The NFL Players Association elected to fund the Veteran Pool for the first time in 2016 and since has extended the benefit each season.