Nathan Gerry wins big with NFL's performance-based pay


Third-year linebacker Nathan Gerry nearly doubled his 2019 salary thanks to the NFL’s performance-based pay system. 

A former fifth-round pick in 2017, Gerry started 12 games for the Eagles in 2019 and ended up playing 61 percent of Eagles defensive snaps. He also added another 335 snaps on special teams, the most on the team. 

Because of his expanded playing time and because his salary was so low ($645,000), the 25-year-old Gerry came away with a ton of extra money in performance-based pay. 

In the performance-based pay pool, announced by the NFL on Thursday, Gerry earned an additional $345,976. And in the veteran pool, he earned an additional $213,484. 

In total, Gerry earned an additional $559,460 in extra pay in 2019. That’s the eighth-highest figure in the NFL. 

And it means he earned just over $1.2 million from the 2019 season. 

The NFL explains its “Performance-Based Pay” system as a “collectively bargained benefit that compensates all players, including rookies, based upon their playing time and salary levels.” In total, NFL players received an additional $147.952 million in performance-based pay for 2019. 

Performance-based pay is divvied up based on a formula that accounts for playing time and salary. Basically, the more a player plays on a cheap deal, the more he gets. It doesn't reward level of play, rather snaps on the field. The veteran pool follows a similar formula but includes only players with one or more accrued seasons. 

Chiefs cornerback Charvarius Ward was the big winner in 2019. He pulled in a total of $654,750 in extra pay. 

Going into the 2020 season, Gerry figures to be an important part of the Eagles’ defense. Next season is also the fourth and final year of his rookie contract; his salary in 2020 is $735,000. So he could be on this list again next year. 

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