NFL: 2023 Performance-Based Pay Distributions Announced

NEW YORK — April 1, 2024 — NFL players will receive $393.8 million in Performance-Based Pay for their performance during the 2023 season, the NFL announced today. The Performance-Based Pay program is a collectively bargained benefit that compensates all players based upon their playing time and salary levels.

​Guard JOHN SIMPSON, who played for the Baltimore Ravens in 2023, earned the highest amount among all NFL players for the 2023 League Year Performance-Based Pay program. His $974,613 distribution will nearly double his 2023 salary.  Simpson was a 2020 fourth-round draft choice from Clemson who played the 2023 season under a one-year minimum salary contract. He participated in all but seven plays on offense and almost 19 percent of the club’s special team plays.

Players have been paid nearly $2.4 billion cumulatively since the inception of the Performance-Based Pay program, which was implemented during the 2002 season as part of the NFL’s Collective Bargaining Agreement with the NFL Players Association, and has been carried forward in three subsequent collective bargaining agreements.

How Performance-Based Pay Works

Under the Performance-Based Pay program, a fund is created and used as a supplemental form of player compensation based upon a comparison of playing time to salary. Players become eligible to receive a bonus distribution in any regular season in which they play at least one official down. In general, players with higher playtime percentages and lower salaries benefit most from the pool.

Performance-Based Pay is computed by using a player index (“Index”). To calculate the Index, a player’s “PBP Playtime” (defined as the player’s regular season total plays played on offense, defense and special teams, divided by the number of plays in which the player with the most total combined plays participated on that team) is divided by his “PBP Compensation” (defined as each player’s regular season full salary, including his prorated portion of signing bonus, and earned incentives). Each player’s Index is then compared to those of all other players on his team to determine the amount of his Performance-Based Pay. If a player’s full season salary is less than the CBA Minimum Salary for a player with seven or more Credited Seasons, additional salary will be imputed to that player so that his salary is equal to the Minimum Salary for a player with seven or more Credited Seasons (i.e., $1.165M for the 2023 season). By imputing a minimum salary of $1.165 million, a slightly higher percentage of the pool is directed to high-performing veteran players whose salaries exceed $1.165 million, but are not among the highest in the League, as contemplated by the formula. This imputation of salary is solely for the purpose of calculating distributions from the pool and does not affect the actual salary paid to the player under his contract.

Illustration Of Performance-Based Pay System

Each player on the same team com­petes for his own share of his club’s Performance-Based Pay pool. The hypothetical example in the table below illustrates how the Player Index works, using a simplified four-player team and a club bonus pool of $1,000,000. Each player receives his share of the pool depending on how his Index compares to those of his teammates.

​UDFA – Undrafted free agent

The National Football League (NFL) is a professional American football league consisting of 32 teams, divided equally between the National Football Conference (NFC) and the American Football Conference (AFC). The NFL is one of the four major