Tom Brady, Aaron Rodgers, More NFL Contract Performance Incentives Ahead of Week 18

Timothy Rapp@@TRappaRTFeatured Columnist IVJanuary 5, 2022

EAST RUTHERFORD, NEW JERSEY - JANUARY 02:  Tom Brady #12 of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers celebrates a successful two-point conversion in the fourth quarter of the game against the New York Jets at MetLife Stadium on January 02, 2022 in East Rutherford, New Jersey. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
Elsa/Getty Images

As the NFL heads into the final week of its season, there are playoff berths up for grabs, postseason seeding to be decided and plenty of intrigue among the cellar-dwellers regarding the 2022 draft order. 

But there is also money to be made for the league's players. 

For instance, according to Mark Schofield of Touchdown Wire, Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Tom Brady "earns a $562,500 bonus (with a maximum of $2.5 million) if he finishes in the top five in passer rating, touchdown passes, passing yardage, completion percentage and yards per attempt."

Spotrac @spotrac

Tom Brady’s 2021 Incentives<br><br>Playoff Berth: $500k ✅<br>Wild Card Win/Bye: $250k<br>Divisional Win: $500k<br>NFC Champs: $500k<br>Super Bowl Win: $500k<br><br>$562,500 per Top 5 in:<br>Pass TD: 1st ✅<br>Pass YDs: 1st ✅ <br>Rating: 8th<br>Comp. %: 13th<br>YD/Att: 13th<a href="https://t.co/LmgwonlYOU">https://t.co/LmgwonlYOU</a>

Given that he currently leads the NFL in passing touchdowns (40) and passing yards (4,900), those two bonuses are a virtual lock and will add just over a $1 million to his bank account. He's currently eighth in passer rating (100.5), 13th in completion percentage 66.9 percent) and 12th in yards per attempt (7.3).

His teammate, tight end Rob Gronkowski, also has a few benchmarks to hit this weekend:

Spotrac @spotrac

Rob Gronkowski’s 2021 Incentives<br>- 55 Catches: $500k<br>- 750 Yards: $500k<br>- 9 TD: $500k<br><br>Gronk needs 7 catches, 85 yards, &amp; 3 TDs in Week 18.<br><br>His $500k of playoff incentives (SB berth &amp; win) are moot because of less than 65% regular season snaps played.<a href="https://t.co/6x8SWLpyM5">https://t.co/6x8SWLpyM5</a>

Then there's Aaron Rodgers. The Green Bay Packers quarterback "earns a bonus of $100,000 if he plays over 72.5 percent of the Green Bay Packers’ snaps and finishes in the top three of any of these four categories: Passer rating, completion percentage, interception percentage and passing yardage."

He's played in 90.8 percent of the team's snaps this season already, so he'll hit that benchmark. He already leads the league in both passer rating and interception percentage and is fourth in completion percentage (68.6 percent), just 0.4 percentage points behind Kyler Murray in third. So he has a very good shot of hitting that benchmark, assuming he plays at all for a Packers team that has already locked up the top seed and a first-round bye.

Seattle Seahawks Russell Wilson will be chasing a $250,000 bonus for finishing with a completion percentage over 66 percent. He's currently at 65.2 percent. 

New England Patriots linebacker Donta Hightower could have himself a very lucrative weekend. If he plays "65 percent of New England’s defensive snaps this season, the bonus is worth $375,000, and that rises to $625,000 if he plays 70 percent of New England's snaps, $875,000 if he hits 75 percent, and $1 million if he plays on 80 percent of the Patriots' defensive snaps.

He's currently at 67 percent. 

Buffalo Bills wideout Stefon Diggs has escalator clauses in his contract that will increase his future payouts if he hits 100 receptions or 1,375 receiving yards in a season. While the latter is out of reach this season, he's six catches away from triggering the former, which would add $750,000 and $800,000 to his 2022 and 2023 salaries, respectively.

Spotrac @spotrac

Stefon Diggs' 2021 Incentives<br>100 receptions or 1,375 receiving yards<br>- increases 2022 salary to $12.525M<br>- increases 2023 salary to $12.65M<br><br>Diggs enters Week 18 with 94 catches, 1,144 receiving yards for the <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/Bills?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#Bills</a>. He also carries a $23M valuation.<a href="https://t.co/vg6StA9rlZ">https://t.co/vg6StA9rlZ</a>

Finally, Kansas City Chiefs defensive lineman Chris Jones is one sack away from hitting on a $1.25 million bonus. Keep your head on a swivel, Drew Lock.