Dak Prescott nearly doubles his salary with NFL's performance-based pay system

The NFL announced on Wednesday the recipients of performance-based pay for the 2016 season. Each team received a sum of $3.995 million (up from $3.8 million last year and $3.63 million the year before), which was then distributed to the players without affecting the salary cap. 

The formula for performance-based pay weighs playing time against salary and allocates it accordingly. (As such, late-round rookies that play a lot, undrafted free agents, and low-cost veterans typically receive the highest payouts.) It should come as no surprise, then, that the leaders on offense and defense were, respectively: Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott, a fourth-round draft pick that started every game for America’s Team; and Falcons cornerback Brian Poole, an undrafted rookie that played 77.2 percent of the team’s snaps. 

Prescott and Poole each had 2016 base salaries of $450,000, per Spotrac, which means they each nearly doubled their salary with the performance-based payout. They were two of an incredible 16 players that received at least $300,000 in performance-based pay for the 2016 season, double the number of players that received a payout that high last year. 

The others:

  • Falcons safety Ricardo Allen: Fifth-round pick in 2015 that started all 16 games; also on last year’s list of $300K-plus players
  • Ravens linebacker Zach Orr: 2014 UDFA (undrafted free agent) signing that started 15 games and played 98 percent of defensive snaps
  • Bengals center Russell Bodine: 2014 fourth-round pick that has started all 48 games of his career; also on last year’s list of $300K-plus players
  • Cowboys cornerback Anthony Brown: 2016 sixth-round pick that played 70.5 percent of defensive snaps
  • Broncos center Matt Paradis: 2014 sixth-round pick that started every game the last two years; also on last year’s list of $300K-plus players
  • Packers cornerback Ladarius Gunter: 2015 UDFA signing that spent much of this season as a starter after injuries ravaged the Green Bay defensive backfield
  • Texans center Greg Mancz: 2015 UDFA signing that started all 16 games after an injury to Nick Martin
  • Patriots center David Andrews: 2015 UDFA signing that started all 16 games for the Super Bowl champs
  • Patriots guard Joe Thuney: 2016 third-round pick that started all 16 games for the Super Bowl champs
  • Giants safety Andrew Adams: 2016 UDFA signing that made 13 starts and played 77.7 percent of defensive snaps
  • Eagles cornerback Jalen Mills: 2016 seventh-round pick that played 65 percent of defensive snaps
  • Eagles linebacker Jordan Hicks: 2016 third-round pick that started all 16 games
  • Steelers tackle Alejandro Villanueva: Undrafted in 2010, spent two years in the military before making his way to Eagles training camp in 2014; later wound up with the Steelers and has been starting since Week 6 of last season; also on last year’s list of $300K-plus players
  • Seahawks guard Mark Glowinski: 2015 fourth-round pick that started all 16 games 
  • 49ers tackle Trenton Brown: 2015 seventh-round pick that started all 16 games
  • Titans guard Quinton Spain: 2015 UDFA that started 13 games

It seems like a pretty good bet that, barring injury, we’ll be seeing a bunch of these guys again on next year’s list of the top performance-based pay recipients. 

CBS Sports Writer

Jared Dubin is a New York lawyer and writer. He joined CBSSports.com in 2014 and has since spent far too much of his time watching film and working in spreadsheets. Full Bio

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