Whether it's accomplished by meeting certain playing time percentage requirements and/or achieving pre-determined individual or team performance measurements, NFL players often trigger incentives that increase their base salaries in futures years of their contracts.
Three members of the Seattle Seahawks defense have triggered increases in their 2010 base salaries:
DT, Brandon Mebane - Mebane has started 41 of his first 47 career games in the NFL. As a result of his playing-time percentages in the first three years of his rookie contract, his 2010 salary will increase from the $550,000 league minimum to $1.101 million dollars, the "low" restricted free agent tender amount.
Mebane has also banked over $250,000 in performance-based pay the last two seasons. ($258,130)
CB, Kelly Jennings - Jennings was slated to earn $800,000 in the final year of his 5-year, $7.3 million dollar contract he signed after being chosen with the 31st overall pick of the 2006 NFL Draft.
Jennings started 15 games in 2007, and while he's been relegated to spot-starter and nickel/dime cornerback duties, Jennings has never missed an NFL game and has been a contributor on special teams. This has kept his playing time percentage well above the minimum levels and, as a result, his salary in 2010 will see a modest of increase of $350,000 to $1.15 million dollars.
S, Jordan Babineaux - Babineaux signed a five-year, $13.1 million dollar contract extension during the 2007 season, which included base salary escalators that were tied to his playing time percentage.
With Babineaux entering the starting lineup in 2009, his playing time percentage, which would include defensive and special teams snaps, increased to a team-high 79.4% in 2009.
Babineaux's base salary, which was to be $1.45 million dollars, is now $2.45 million dollars, an increase of $1 million dollars.
Aaron Curry's Future Base Salary Increases
According to a league source, Seahawks linebacker Aaron Curry received a $15,056,250 option bonus this off-season, which reduced his base salaries to $395,000 (2010), $1,076,250 (2011), $1,757,500 (2012), $2,438,750 (2013), and $3,120,000 (2014).
Curry's base salaries from 2010-12 are fully guaranteed, while the 2013-14 salaries are only guaranteed for injury.
Despite being removed from the field on passing downs throughout much of the second-half of his rookie season, Curry triggered $16.5 million dollars in base salary escalation between the 2011 and 2014 seasons. According to NFLPA records, an additional $4 million dollars has been added to both his 2011 and 2012 salaries, $3.5 million dollars to his 2013 salary, and $5 million dollars to his 2014 salary.
The $8 million dollars in base salary escalation in 2011-12 is fully guaranteed, a source said.
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.
Several Seahawks Earn Pay Increases
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