As the NFL playoffs quickly approach, many players will grind out the last few games trying to reach their player incentives. Some of these guys have made enough in their career you may think it doesn’t matter. However, a lot of players push to reach them for their extra cash and their teammates normally hope to help them get there. This can affect your fantasy football championship game if one of your players is pushing for an incentive. It can also help you decide prop bets through each game. Let’s take a look at 10 NFL contract incentives close to hitting.
NFL Player Bonuses and Contract Incentives for 2022
What is a contract incentive?
First, let’s take a quick look at what a contract incentive is, in case you may not be familiar. Not all money in the contract a player signs is guaranteed. Some of the money has to be earned with wins, stats, or playoff appearances. Some of the incentives in a contract can be smaller $100,000 bonuses, while others may exceed $2 million.
Incentives aren’t just to motivate a player but to help the team with contract space. Since the money isn’t guaranteed, a team can save on cap space when signing a player to a contract that’s heavy on incentives. Player incentives are quite common for veterans looking to prove themselves. Now let’s dive into which players may get just a little bit richer with their NFL player bonus.
$562,500 each ($2.5 million max) if he finishes top 5 in:
Yards per attempt
$500,000 if playoffs are made
$750,000 wild card round win
$1.25 million Divisional round win
$1.75 million Conference Championship win
$2.25 million Super Bowl win
It probably comes as no surprise that one of the most successful quarterbacks in the league, Tom Brady, has one of the biggest incentive-based contracts. Brady is currently leading the league in passing yards and passing touchdowns. He is also closing in on passer rating, ranking 7th among QBs. Brady likely won’t hit the completion percentage or yards per attempt, meaning he’ll get between $1,125,000 and $1,687,500 in passing stat player incentives.
The other area of bonuses includes playoff wins. Tom Brady has already cashed in on his $500,000 bonus with Tampa Bay clinching the playoffs. However, he’ll get more with each playoff win. Tampa Bay is currently listed as 7/1 favorites to win the Superbowl and 3.5/1 to win the NFC Championship on Wynn Bet. Brady has a chance of making the most in player incentives. With an extra $2.25 million on the line, if he wins the Super Bowl, 7/1 looks like a juicy bet that could pay off for both you and Brady.
UPDATE: Tom Brady will hit his bonus for finishing top 5 in touchdown passes and passing yards. He will fall outside of the top 10 for yards per attempt and completion percentage. While Brady sits 8th in passer rating, he actually could jump into the top 5. His current QB rating average is 100.5. However, 5th place, Kirk Cousins, is at 101.3, followed by Kyler Murray and Dak Prescott at 100.9. With a clean game, Brady does have a chance to jump into 5th place. The rest of Brady’s NFL contract incentive will be determined by the Bucs playoff success.
— GOAT (@TomBradyEgo) December 26, 2021
$100,000 each (has to play 72.5% of snaps) if top 3 in:
$120,000 Divisional Playoff win
$130,000 NFC Championship win
$150,000 Super Bowl win
With NFL contract incentives not nearly as lucrative as Tom Brady’s, one may see why Aaron Rodgers felt he deserved more respect from the Packer organization. However, with only one Super Bowl ring to show to Brady’s seven an argument can be made why his incentives aren’t as good as Brady’s. Rodgers has to place top three in categories rather than top five, making it more difficult to reach his NFL player bonus.
Currently 10th in passing yards, it looks like Rodgers may miss the mark on passing yards and completion percentage. Rodgers does look like he’ll cash in $100,000 for interception percentage, with only 4 interceptions on the year. He should also cash the passer rating where he leads the league with 110.8. Meaning you should take the under in any of the Aaron Rodgers over/under interception prop bets.
Just like Brady, Rodgers has incentives to win each playoff game. Though much smaller than the bonuses that exceed $2 million dollars in Brady’s contract, Rodgers will get $120,000 for a divisional playoff win. He’ll get another $130,000 if they win the NFC Championship and $150,000 to win the Super Bowl. With player incentive money on the line, if the Packers end up being listed as an underdog in any of their playoff matchups, it might be wise to put money on them. The Packers are the current favorites to win both the NFC Championship and the Super Bowl on Wynn Bet.
Update: Aaron Rodgers looks to finish with the top passer rating on the season as well as the top interception percentage. Rodgers will fall short of passing yards however, could end up cashing in on his completion percentage contract bonus. Rodgers is currently sitting at 68.6, which is good enough for fourth. Derek Carr at 69.2 and Kyler Murray at 69.0 could both be passed if Rodgers has a good game and/or Carr or Murray have a bad game. Rodger’s additional NFL contract incentives will be determined by the playoff success of the Packers.
Aaron Rodgers throws an indefensible ball in the perfect spot for his guy to make a play while avoiding the sack
This man is manipulating the football pic.twitter.com/21ODXHuZ8s
— IKE Packers Podcast (@IKE_Packers) December 28, 2021
$250,000 if over 66% passing completion rate
While Russell Wilson has had a disappointing year in both the games he played and those missed to injury, he could still cash an extra $250,000 for passing completion rate. Wilson’s current completion percentage sits right above 64 percent. He will need to play clean football over the next two games to raise his percentage. Wilson needs at least a 68 percent passing completion rating the next two weeks in order to average out above 66 percent.
Player incentives missed by Wilson included extra cash for making the Pro Bowl, exceeding 4000 yards, and exceeding 36 passing touchdowns. These numbers show exactly how much is expected of Wilson. And while he only missed four full games, Wilson has had a very down year and has left a lot of questions to be answered. Will Wilson remain on the Seahawks next year? Will Pete Carroll still be the coach, or will they move on to a new coach like one of these coach candidates? All storylines to follow closely and potentially bet Wilson’s next destination if they become available in the offseason.
Update: Wilson had an excellent game in Week 17 and raised his passing completion rate from 64% to 65.2%. One more good performance from Wilson will push him above 66% and cash his extra $250,000 NFL player bonus.
When considering the #Seahawks chronic third down woes in 2021, seeing Russell Wilson start to regularly connect with Gerald Everett in such situations leaves you wondering "What if?" those throws were made earlier in the season. pic.twitter.com/Q5eM7fQQhk
— Corbin K. Smith (@CorbinSmithNFL) December 28, 2021
$658,333 over 100 receptions
$658,333 over 1,375 yards
Even though he’s been a bit of a frustrating player in fantasy football with up and down stats to start the year, Stefon Diggs is getting close to hitting his player incentives. Diggs currently has 89 receptions, meaning he only needs 11 more to hit over 100 receptions and cash $658,333 for his NFL player bonus. He is averaging 5.9 receptions a game, which would technically put him over 11 if he keeps that pace up. Diggs over/under reception bets should be closely followed.
Somewhat farther away, but still obtainable, Diggs is 283 yards from going over 1375 yards receiving on the season. While it’s a long shot to hit, Diggs did have a game in November with 162 yards. Sure, it’s an outlier but Diggs and Josh Allen have incredible chemistry and the Bills need to keep churning out wins. Look for Allen to rely on Diggs and for him to surpass his reception player incentive and come close to his yardage player incentive.
Update: Diggs had 5 receptions last week, bringing him within 6 receptions of 100. Should he get six catches this weekend he’ll cash $658,333 in NFL contract incentives. His NFL player bonus of over 1,375 yards is a little less obtainable. He currently sits at 1,144 receiving yards. While 231 yards in a game seems like a reach, 6 receptions isn’t a reach at all. Look for the Diggs over for receptions prop bet.
Josh Allen & Stefon Diggs are actually absurd pic.twitter.com/TPI5CiRMbi
— MereKat (@MereKatKat) December 26, 2021
$500,000 for each:
750 receiving yards
Seemingly one of the teams with the most NFL contract incentives in their veteran contracts, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers may be on to something with the excellent performances they’ve seen from their players. At the rate, Rob Gronkowski started this year he looked to be a lock to reach all of his NFL player bonus incentives. In the first three games, Gronk had 16 receptions, 184 yards, and 4 touchdowns. At that rate, he was on track to break the reception incentive in Week 11. He was also on track to exceed 750 receiving yards in week 13. Lastly, he would have exceeded 9 touchdowns in Week 9.
Unfortunately, Gronkowski was injured and missed Week 4 through Week 7, and then again in Week 10. Since then, Gronkowski hasn’t maintained the same average per game but still has a chance to hit at least one of his player incentives. Sitting at six touchdowns, Gronk only needs three more to get three more in the next two games.
This is a situation where I’d hammer Gronkowski anytime TD bet on Wynn Bet in the next two games. Sure, it’s possible he gets another 14 receptions to get to 55 receptions, and he’s had a game this season over 100 yards so an additional 200 yards over the next two games is possible as well. However, the touchdown bet seems like the most obtainable. Is there any player Brady wants to help more? Maybe the next guy, but don’t forget just how long Gronk and Brady have been connecting on the field.
Update: Gronk’s 7 receptions and 115 yards helped him get closer to his NFL player bonus for receptions and yards, but 0 touchdowns last week made his touchdown contract incentive seem too far away. Gronk is currently sitting at 48 receptions, meaning he only needs seven more catches to cash his $500,000 player bonus. He also only needs 85 receiving yards to cash another $500,000. I like the over for his catches and his yards as Brady will look to help him out.
Tom Brady and Rob Gronkowski are just content goldmines. pic.twitter.com/8BdrErmbMG
— Taylor Jenkins (@TJenkinsTampa) February 8, 2021
$333,333 for each:
600 receiving yards
800 receiving yards
$250,000 Superbowl win if playing 45% of the snaps
Looking at the NFL player incentives in Antonio Brown’s contract, he looks to be on track to make a good chunk of change over the next two games. Derailed by injuries for eight games, Brown came back last week with 10 receptions and 101 yards, inching him closer to both his receptions and yardage bonus. Once roommates, Brady will look to rely on Brown with injuries mounting in Tampa Bay. He seems like an excellent prop bet candidate for over/under receptions, yards, and TDs over the next two games.
Antonio Brown currently has 39 receptions, putting him 11 away from his $333,333 bonus for 50 receptions. He also is only 81 yards away from his 600 yardage bonus. And just to continue to add to his paycheck, Brown is only 1 touchdown away from 5 touchdowns. Brown already has one game with two touchdowns, so it’s possible he could even get to 7 touchdowns before the end of the year. Brown looks to at least make $999,999 in player incentives, motivating him to exceed over the next two games.
Update: With Brown leaving the team in the middle of the game he will fall short of all his NFL player bonuses. He’ll finish the year with 42 receptions for 545 yards and 4 touchdowns.
— Pro Football Culture (@proftblculture) December 26, 2021
$250,000 for each:
Exceeding each reception marks of: 50, 60, 70, 80
Exceeding each yardage mark of: 600, 700, 800, 900
Playing 50% of snaps and making playoffs
Playing 50% of snaps and making NFC Championship
Veterans who are not only trying to get signed on a team in the off-season but trying to prove they are still playmakers tend to work multiple NFL performance bonus incentives into their contract. This was the case for A.J. Green as he gambled on himself with incentives in both receptions and yards. While Green isn’t the dominant receiver he once was in Cincinnati, he managed to stay relevant this year on a team with Kyler Murray that was able to feed multiple receivers.
A.J. Green currently has 47 receptions, putting him three receptions away from a $250,000 player incentive and another 13 receptions away from an additional $250,000. Green also has 751 receiving yards so far this year. Meaning, he has already made $500,000 in receiving player incentives but is only 49 yards away from an additional $250,000.
Averaging 53 yards a game it seems like Green will be able to exceed 800 yards but fall short of 900. He’s only averaging 3.3 receptions a game so it is likely he exceeds 50 receptions but falls short of 60. Still, a nice NFL contract incentives bonus for a receiver that took a bet on himself, Green should make an extra $1 million and even more if Cardinals end their losing streak and keep pushing to make the playoffs.
Update: A.J. Green has hit 50 receptions and his 600, 700, and 800-yard player bonuses. These have already paid him an extra $1 million in contract incentives. Green is 75 yards away from an extra $250,000. He could also cash another $250,000 if he gets 10 catches. Green doesn’t have any games with 10 receptions this year, however, he does have four games with over 75 yards.
$250,000 for each:
Top 7 in Field Goals
Top 10 in Field Goals
90% Field Goal conversion rate
$125,000 for making All NFL team
It’s not as exciting as a quarterback looking for more passing touchdowns or a receiver fighting for yards and receptions, but kicker Nick Folk looks to make an NFL performance bonus with his player incentives. Having an excellent year kicking for New England, kicking prop bets on Wynn Bet over the next two Patriots games are worth taking a look at.
Ranking currently 2nd in field goals made, if Folk keeps up his current pace he’ll make $500,000 for finishing inside the top 7. However, not all his money is already in the bag. Folk is currently sitting at a 91.9% conversion rate meaning, he’ll have to keep kicking with top accuracy to cash another $250,000. If Folk were to miss a field goal in each of the next games it’s possible he falls under the 90% threshold and misses out on his $250,000 NFL contract incentives.
Update: Nick Folk will finish top 7 and top 10 in field goals, cashing $250,000. However, after missing an extra point last week his field goal percentage has dropped to 88.6%. A 100% kicking game this week would push him over 90% to cash another $250,000 contract incentive.
Odell Beckham and The Playoffs
$500,000 Wild Card win or bye
$750,000 Divisional Playoff win
$750,000 NFC Championship win
$500,000 Super Bowl loss
$1,000,000 Super Bowl win
Being cut from the Browns ended up working out in Odell Beckham’s favor. He signed with the Los Angeles Rams and got a playoff win incentive-based contract that will pay him more for each playoff win. With the Browns looking like they could miss the playoffs and the Rams clinching the playoffs, I’m sure Beckham couldn’t be happier. Beckham will look to pile on more NFL player bonus cash with each playoff win especially as he continues to fill in for injured Robert Woods. The Rams are currently 3.5/1 to win the NFC Championship on Wynn Bet and 8.5/1 to win the Super Bowl.
Update: N/A – pending playoffs
Another way to take advantage of player incentives is to look at the defensive players that need a couple of sacks in order to hit their bonus and bet the over on the sack total for those teams. This year several players have stood out and are close to reaching their player incentives. Chiefs’ contributor Chris Jones currently has 7 sacks. If he could get an additional three over the next two games he could earn himself an extra $1.25 million.
Fighting injuries almost his whole career, Browns’ defensive end Jadeveon Clowney has 5 sacks. The 5 sacks make him $250,000 but if he can get an additional two sacks he’ll earn another $250,000. Clowney was re-activated after having covid. Last, Carolina Panther linebacker Haason Reddick has quietly put together a great year with 11 sacks. Two more sacks would net him an additional $1,000,000, making his next two games important to him even if they aren’t to the rest of the team.
Chris Jones – Jones played like his NFL player bonus was on the line, which it was. He had two sacks last week and now is only one away from $1.25 million in contract incentives.
Jadaveon Clowney – Clowney had two sacks against the Steelers last week, meaning he cashed his extra $250,000 in contract incentives. That will pay him a total of $500,000 in player bonuses this year.
Haason Reddick – no change, did not play due to COVID.