The NFL’s Performance-Based Pay program is a nice program, one that helps reward players who have a major impact to their teams while working on low salaries. It frequently pays out high dollar values to late-round draft picks and undrafted free agents, players who are typically playing on league-minimum salaries, and as a bonus program there is no salary cap impact. The league announced the disbursements from the 2019 season on Thursday and the Green Bay Packers had one of the biggest beneficiaries of this program, which is eligible to rookies and veterans alike.
Allen Lazard, a former undrafted free agent who came over from the Jacksonville Jaguars late in 2018, broke out in a big way for the Packers in 2019 and became the team’s number two wide receiver over the second half of the season. Lazard received a significant disbursement of just over $307,000, which was the 23rd-highest bonus paid out through the league’s program this year. He played 44 percent of the Packers’ offensive snaps and 38 percent of special teams snaps, all while earning the league minimum salary of $495,000 during the season.
Another former Packers player was represented in the top 25: offensive lineman Marshall Newhouse. The 2010 draft pick left Green Bay after 2013, but has put together a solid career as a backup and fill-in starter. Newhouse played in 15 games for the New England Patriots in 2019, starting nine of them and taking the field on 63 percent of the Pats’ offensive snaps.
The NFLPA has a similar program known as the Veteran Pool that applies to veteran players, defined as those with one accrued season under their belt. Lazard was unfortunately ineligible for money through that program, as he did not receive credit for 2018 as an accrued season. Chiefs cornerback Charvarius Ward earned the most money under the NFL program and the fourth-most under the Veteran Pool program, making him the top earner in the two programs combined with a total of over $650,000.
Lazard is an exclusive-rights free agent this year, and with his one year of experience he will surely receive a tender for a second-year player’s league-minimum contract for 2020. However, if he has a similar impact in the upcoming season that he did in 2019, he will surely earn another nice check this time in 2021.