Seattle Seahawks middle linebacker David Hawthorne leading the Seahawks in performance-based pay bonuses after last season was not a surprise. Hawthorne started 11 games for Lofa Tatupu, logged significant playing time in two other games where Tatupu was injured, and when he wasn't the starting middle linebacker, Hawthorne was a core member of Seattle's special teams unit.
And Hawthorne did it while earning the league minimum.
Young players on their rookie contracts, earning at or close to the league minimum, who earn or are pressed into starting roles, have historically done well in this program. In fact, of the 12 Seattle Seahawks who earned six-figure bonuses last year, eleven are either on their rookie contracts, or are otherwise making the league minimum.
The twelfth player who earned a $100,000+ bonus, safety Lawyer Milloy, did so thanks to the "Veteran Exception", where a vested veteran earns a regular salary, but is counted against the salary cap at a reduced figure.
Below is a look at the Top 12 Seahawks earners in performance-based pay, with their 2009 cap number in (x), followed by their bonus from the PBP program.
1. David Hawthorne, LB ($391,830) - $306,091
2. Max Unger, C ($672,500) - $197,102
3. Justin Forsett, RB ($390,330) - $188,294
4. Nick Reed, DE ($320,402) - $172,008
5. Lawyer Milloy, S ($460,00) - $150,587
6. John Carlson, TE ($858,000) - $142,406
7. Brandon Mebane, DT ($635,580) - $136,234
8. Will Herring, LB ($505,585) - $134,464
9. Josh Wilson, CB ($685,330) - $123,613
10. Darryl Tapp, DE ($820,330) - $111,543
11. Deon Butler, WR ($480,187) - $106,244
12. Steve Vallos, C ($390,330) - $102,950
Seahawks PBP Notes:
Guard Rob Sims ($96,503) and wide receiver Ben Obomanu ($94,893) came close to the $100K mark...Defensive back Jordan Babineaux's role on special teams helped him lead the Seahawks in playtime percentage with 79.4%. Babineaux's bonus was $74,385...Mike Hass, who only saw playing time on special teams in the Seahawks' Week 16 loss in Green Bay, received $2,387, the smallest bonus paid out...Quarterback Matt Hasselbeck had the team's highest cap number, and took home $10,731, which was slightly more than the bonus paid to Deion Branch ($9,696).
In addition to writing for NorthwestFootball.net, Brian McIntyre blogs daily at Mac's Football Blog. You can follow Brian on Twitter, and if you'd like to e-mail him, you can always do so by clicking here.
Deeper Look at Seahawks' 2009 PBP
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