Bengals linebacker Vontaze Burfict leads NFL in performance-based pay

Brian McIntyre
Shutdown Corner

Cincinnati Bengals rookie linebacker Vontaze Burfict earned an NFL-high $299,465 in the NFL's performance-based pay program, a source with knowledge of the payout distribution confirmed to "Shutdown Corner" on Wednesday.

Off-field issues at Arizona State dropped Burfict out of the 2012 NFL Draft and the Bengals were able to sign him to a three-year undrafted rookie contract that included a signing bonus of $1,000 for a first-year cap number of $390,333. Burfict had a team-high 127 tackles while playing in 82.96 percent of the team's defensive snaps, which set him to do very well in a poorly-named program that rewards players with high playing-time percentages and low cap numbers.

Here's a look at the Top 10 payouts from 2012:

1. Vontaze Burfict, LB, Cincinnati Bengals - $299,465
2. Dallas Reynolds, OL, Philadelphia Eagles -$294,844
3. Brian De La Puente, OC, New Orleans Saints - $289,875
4. Bobby Massie, OT, Arizona Cardinals - $283,776
5. J'Marcus Webb, OT, Chicago Bears - $275,360
6. Sam Acho, LB, Arizona Cardinals - $273,715
7. Bruce Miller, FB, San Francisco 49ers - $273,476
8. Max Starks, OT, Pittsburgh Steelers - $272,590
9. Robert McClain, CB, Atlanta Falcons - $269,505
10. Austin Howard, OT, New York Jets - $261,431

Each team had $3.46 million to divide among their players, though four teams (Dallas Cowboys, Denver Broncos, New Orleans Saints and New York Jets) had reduced amounts due to excess payouts in 2009, the previous year this program was in place.

Quite a few teams had multiple players receive payouts of more than $200,000, including five members of the Seattle Seahawks. Cornerback Richard Sherman led the Seahawks with $249,201, while safety Kam Chancellor received $229,952. Rookie quarterback Russell Wilson earned $222,167, cornerback Brandon Browner was fourth with $215,201 and second-year linebacker K.J. Wright received $205,668.

Other notable recipients include Miami Dolphins safety Reshad Jones ($256,612), Indianapolis Colts linebacker Jerrell Freeman ($255,018) and New York Giants wide receiver Victor Cruz ($221,303).

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