Alejandro Villanueva nearly doubles salary with performance bonus
March 16, 2017 12:47 PM
Steelers offensive lineman Alejandro Villanueva earned more than $400,000 in performance-based bonuses after the 2016 season.
By Ed Bouchette / Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
Two starters the Steelers are trying to lock up with contracts have already received significant boosts in pay, and it technically didn’t cost the Steelers a dime.
Starting left tackle Alejandro Villanueva, who earned a $480,000 salary last season, nearly doubled that. He received $401,652.46 in performance based pay, the NFL announced.
Starting cornerback Ross Cockrell, who earned a $600,000 salary last season, received an extra $352,620.70 in PBP.
Villanueva’s extra compensation ranks fourth most in the NFL and Cockrell’s 22nd.
Performance based pay was created in the 2002 NFL collective bargaining agreement with its players association, basically to reward players who outperform their contracts, usually those who are younger and working for relatively minimum pay.
Since then, the league has distributed $1.2 billion in extra pay. That amount includes $127.84 million this year. In addition, the NFLPA elected to contribute $32 million in benefits — $1 million per team — to fund a veteran performance-based compensation pool, of which both Villanueva and Cockrell participated as well to reach their totals above.
The Steelers issued Villanueva a one-year contract for 2017 of $615,000 as an exclusive rights free agent. They would like to sign him to a long-term deal, but if not he has no options but to play for that salary next season. He could then become a restricted free agent in 2018.
Cockrell received a one-year contract tender of $1.797 million as a restricted free agent. He can still entertain offers from other teams. If he would sign elsewhere, the Steelers could match the other deal and keep him, or let him go and receive a fourth-round draft choice as compensation.
• The Steelers will being their voluntary OTA spring practices May 23 and hold 10 of them over three consecutive weeks, followed by a minicamp, which is not voluntary. ... Mike Tomlin and Kevin Colbert attended Clemson’s pro day workout Thursday. ... Apparently, oddsmakers have been unimpressed with the Steelers’ moves in free agency. Bovada increased their odds from 12-1 to 14-1 to win the Super Bowl over the past month. Nevertheless, they remain No. 2 favorites behind the Patriots (4-1) in the AFC.
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