2023 NFL Performance-Based Pay Distributions Announced; Ravens' Simpson leads the way

An additional $393.8 million will be distributed to top contributors to level salary field
John Simpson of the Baltimore Ravens, above, made an additional $974,613 in Performance Based Pay, the NFL Announced on Monday.
John Simpson of the Baltimore Ravens, above, made an additional $974,613 in Performance Based Pay, the NFL Announced on Monday. / Perry Knotts/GettyImages

John Simpson, who played guard for the Baltimore Ravens on a one-year contract, earned the highest amount of Performance Based Pay among all NFL players for the past League Year Performance Based Pay program, the National Football League announced Monday afternoon.

For his yeoman-like efforts, Simpson also earned a new two-year free agent contract with the New York Jets in March.

His $974,613 distribution from the pool will nearly double his 2023 salary, which was based upon the league minimum of $1.21 million. He was signed to a one-year contract after the 2022 season, and became a free agent this offseason. 

Simpson was a 2020 fourth-round draft choice from Clemson who participated in all but seven plays on offense and almost 19 percent of the club’s special team plays.

NFL players, collectively, will receive an additional $393.8 million in Performance-Based Pay for their performance during the 2023 season, the NFL announced today. The Performance-Based Pay program is a collectively bargained benefit that compensates all players based upon their playing time and salary levels.

Those players that earn the least, but play the most, are compensated with additional funds from the pool to level out their salaries based upon their contributions to their team.

Players have been paid nearly $2.4 billion cumulatively since the inception of the Performance-Based Pay program, which was implemented during the 2002 season as part of the NFL’s Collective Bargaining Agreement with the NFL Players Association, and has been carried forward in three subsequent collective bargaining agreements.

Under the Performance-Based Pay program, a fund is created and used as a supplemental form of player compensation based upon a comparison of playing time to salary. Players become eligible to receive a bonus distribution in any regular season in which they play at least one official down. In general, players with higher playtime percentages and lower salaries benefit most from the pool. 

The money available rose by $1 million per team this year.

Eagles safety Reed Blankenship ($923,059), Bills tackle Spencer Brown ($912,723), Bengals guard Cordell Volson ($905,972), and Dolphins cornerback Kader Kohou ($878,167) rounded out this year’s top-five bonus recipients.

Among other players on the recipients list, San Francisco 49ers quarterback Brock Purdy, who went from Mr. Irrelevant to NFC Champion, earned an additional $739,795 predicated upon his play time and his NFL minimum contract salary that he signed in 2022. Jonathon Cooper, who played with the Denver Broncos last season, rounded out the top 25 in Performance Based Pay with an additional $738,916.