INDIANAPOLIS — After every season is complete, each National Football League team has a certain fixed amount of money available to pay to any player that stepped foot onto the field for that club, broken up by playtime percentage.
Generally, the more playing time a certain player received compared to their salary that season, the more in this performanced-based pay that they receive.
So it might come as no surprise, then, that for the most part, the Indianapolis Colts' leaders in performanced-based pay in 2016 were generally younger players who — due to a variety of reasons — weren't likely considered major pieces heading into the season, but grew into significant roles as the year went on.
Take Joe Haeg, for example. The fifth-round pick out of North Dakota State headed into his rookie season in 2016 considered more of a fill-in player across the offensive line, but thanks to his quick rise in play — as well as several injuries up front — Haeg would go on to start 14 of the 15 games in which he played for the Colts. In doing so, he became the first rookie in NFL history since first-round pick Kyle Turley in 1998 to start at three different positions along the offensive line.
Not surprisingly, Haeg led the Colts in 2016 with a performanced-based pay of $276,028.14, according to figures released this week by the NFL Management Council.
Names like Edwin Jackson ($211,492.08), who filled in to start eight games at inside linebacker for the Colts in 2016, Mo Alie-Cox ($165,917.62), who hadn't played a down of organized football prior to 2014 and grew into the team's third tight end by 2016, and Chester Rogers ($147,892.35), who went undrafted out of Grambling State but settled in nicely as the team's primary punt returner and fourth wide receiver, follow Haeg's name on the list.
In all, 68 players split up the team's performance-based pay allotment of $3,995,000 in 2016, from Haeg's $276,028.14 to outside linebacker Deiontrez Mount, who logged just eight snaps on the year had the lowest Colts figure this past season at $2,121.14.
Below is the entire list for the Colts, but first, a few explanations:
• "Playtime percentage" is figured by adding the player's total snaps on offense, defense and special teams, and then dividing that figure by the team's total offensive, defensive and special teams snaps.
• A variety of factors go into the final performance-based pay for each player. You take a player's "index," which is their regular-season playing time (total snaps on offense, defense and special teams) divided by his "adjusted regular-season compensation" (their full-season salary, prorated portion of their signing bonus and any earned incentives). Each player's index is then compared to those of other players on the team to determine their performance-based pay, according to the NFL.
Here is the Colts' list:
Haeg was the only Colts player to rank in the Top 50 of all NFL players in performance-based pay in 2016. His figure of $276,028.14 ranked 29th in the league.
The top 50 earners in performance-based pay in the NFL in 2016 were as follows:
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