Recently signed Raiders safety Marcus Epps topped the NFL in performance-based pay in 2022, earning $880,384, while Bills safety Damar Hamlin was also among the top earners on the list, the NFL announced Friday. Here’s what you need to know:
- Epps spent last season with the Eagles before signing with the Raiders this offseason. He started all 17 games for Philadelphia through the regular season, tallying 94 total tackles, six pass deflections and a forced fumble.
- Hamlin, who collapsed on the field with cardiac arrest during the Bills’ Week 17 game at Cincinnati, ranked No. 21 in performance-based pay distributions and will receive $652,470.
- Coming in above $800,000 in performance-based pay after Epps are Bengals offensive tackle Cordell Volson, Jaguar center Luke Fortner and Patriots guard Michael Onwenu.
How does performance-based pay work?
Performance-based pay supplements player compensation based on playing time and salary levels via a fund implemented as part of the league’s 2002 collective bargaining agreement with the NFL Players Association. The fund has carried forward in subsequent CBAs and paid nearly $2 billion cumulatively since the start of the program, according to the league. Players will receive $336 million in performance-based pay for the 2022 season.
Players are able to receive a bonus distribution in a regular season in which they play at least one down, and generally, players with higher playing time percentages and lower salaries benefit most from the fund.
This is how the league calculates a player “Index” to determine their performance-based pay:
First, a player’s “PBP Playtime” is calculated as the player’s regular-season total plays on offense, defense and special teams divided by the number of plays of the player with the most total combined plays on that team.
That number is then divided by the player’s “PBP Compensation,” which is his regular-season salary, prorated portion of signing bonus and earned incentives.
This produces the player “Index,” which is then compared to those of the other players to determine the amount of his pay.
Top performance-based pay distributions for 2022
- Marcus Epps (Philadelphia) — $880,384
- Cordell Volson (Cincinnati) — $854,407
- Luke Fortner (Jacksonville) — $819,686
- Michael Onwenu (New England) — $813,083
- Jon Runyan (Green Bay) — $790,159
- Andre Cisco (Jacksonville) — $763,775
- Kevin Dotson (Pittsburgh) — $746,013
- Tariq Woolen (Seattle) — $742,378
- Dan Moore (Pittsburgh) — $739,072
- Michael Jackson (Seattle) — $734,602
- Donovan Peoples-Jones (Cleveland) — $717,642
- Tashaun Gipson (San Francisco) — $708,106
- Robert Hainsey (Tampa Bay) — $706,331
- Kader Kohou (Miami) — $705,584
- Myles Hartsfield (Carolina) — $705,255
- Talanoa Hufanga (San Francisco) — $703,926
- Jamaree Salyer (L.A. Chargers) — $695,838
- Camryn Bynum (Minnesota) — $694,661
- Logan Wilson (Cincinnati) — $669,729
- Trey Smith (Kansas City) — $663,756
- Damar Hamlin (Buffalo) — $652,470
- Nick Scott (L.A. Rams) — $649,016
- Jake Brendel (San Francisco) — $643,691
- Josh Myers (Green Bay) — $638,041
- Duron Harmon (Las Vegas) — $636,623
Evaluating Epps’ 2022 season
Epps showed he was a solid, durable player in his first season as a full-time starter, playing a team-high 1,096 defensive snaps (all but 10) and 26 percent of the special teams snaps — the most of any offensive or defensive starter on the Eagles. He finished with a career-high passes defended on the NFL’s top-ranked pass defense, although he did not record an interception. Epps’ solid play didn’t just earn him the bonus; it also earned him a new deal. He signed two-year, $12-million deal with Las Vegas this week. — Berman
(Photo: Mitchell Leff / Getty Images)