Right tackle Garry Gilliam was one of the highest earners in the NFL's performance-based pay system for 2015.
Thirteeen Seahawks earned at least $100,000 in performance-based pay for the 2015 season, the NFL Players Association announced Monday, led by right tackle Garry Gilliam at $329,384.24.
The performance-based pay system has been in place since 2002. Players are rewarded based on a formula of playing time compared to salary — essentially, players with the smallest salaries who play the most stand to earn the most performance pay (all teams have the same pool to distribute to their players — $3.8 million — and it does not count against the salary cap since it is considered a benefit. Here’s a good explanation of the system).
Gilliam stands as the prototype large earner in performance since he was an undrafted free agent who made $510,000 in 2015 but then emerged as a starter and played 98.05 percent of the team’s snaps. That’s exactly the type of player the performance-based system is designed to reward. Gilliam ended up earning the fourth-most performance-based play of any NFL player (list of top earners here).
Here are the Seahawks who earned the most in performance-based pay in 2015:
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RT Garry Gilliam $329,384.24
LG Justin Britt $220,210.98
DB DeShawn Shead $210,221.76
WR Tyler Lockett $195,305.79
C Drew Nowak $169,477.56
C Patrick Lewis $154,388.03
TE Luke Willson $139,028.10
DB Kelcie McCray $136,575.48
TE Cooper Helfet $115,239.41
CB Marcus Burley $112,345.62
DL Cassius Marsh $104,651.46
OL J.R. Sweezy $103,763.10
LB Kevin Pierre-Louis $100,680.51
Also, RB Thomas Rawls earned $99,427.22 and would have gone over the six-figure mark had he not gotten hurt and missed the final three games.
As noted, this system is designed to reward players who are at the bottom of the pay scale, so some of Seattle’s high-salaried players did not get all that much. Russell Wilson, for instance, earned $22,469.66.