Through multiple “league sources,” including ESPN’s Adam Schefter, Shutdown Corner has compiled a list of players who satisfied financial incentive clauses of their contracts for making the Pro Bowl. Many of the usual suspects are there, including Champ Bailey, Julius Peppers and Jason Pierre-Paul, and dollar amounts range from $50,000-$300,000.
There were also some notable snubs, including Tampa Bay’s Ronde Barber who lost out on a cool $1 million, or Vikings center Jonathan Sullivan (an actual snub) who missed out on $500,000.
But then there’s Matthew Slater, a New England Patriots wide receiver whose biggest contributions have come on special teams. (He hasn’t recorded a reception this season.) He was voted to the Pro Bowl as the AFC special teamer, and he earned a $300,000 bonus – which seems like a lot of cash, especially in the context of his 3-year, $5.4 million contract. Of course that’s a small chunk of change in the grand scheme of things for New England, and Pro Bowl incentives are only put in contracts to, well, incentivize performance. It’s unlikely that Peyton Manning, Tom Brady or Adrian Peterson has a Pro Bowl bonus built in, mostly because they’re shoe-ins whose talent and work ethic are never in question.
Still, the Pro Bowl voting process, which is one third fans, one third coaches and one third players, is extremely arbitrary, especially when the majority of voters can’t or won’t pay attention to the less publicized league positions – like special teams gunner, say. So seeing such a hefty bonus attached to a special teamer’s name, especially when juxtaposed with a guy like Clay Matthews, who only earned $50,000 for the same achievement, is always jarring.