HOUSTON – Under a collectively bargained NFL program rewarding players based on their playing time and salary levels and distributing a total of $336 million for their performance last season, Texans safety Jonathan Owens led the team with a $635,374 performance-based payout.
Owens is a free agent who started every game and had a career-high 125 tackles, one sack and four pass breakups working in tandem with rookie standout Jalen Pitre. Owens is valued for his productivity, special-teams ability and athleticism. He has run the 40-yard dash in 4.36 seconds with a 43-inch vertical leap.
Now with the Las Vegas Raiders after signing a free agent deal, safety Marcus Epps led all NFL players with a $880,384 amount that nearly doubled his 2022 base salary as he started every game and played in all but 10 of the Philadelphia Eagles’ defensive snaps
Players have been paid nearly $2 billion cumulatively since the inception of the performance-based pay program, which was implemented as part of the NFL’s 2002 collective bargaining agreement with the NFL Players Association, and has carried forward in the 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 on 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 Texans’ other leaders in performance-based pay:
Center Scott Quessenberry $539,421
Quarterback Davis Mills $420,390
Defensive tackle Roy Lopez $407,755
Wide receiver Chris Moore $382,041
Free safety Jalen Pitre $374,252
Linebacker Christian Harris $357,382
Defensive tackle Kurt Hinish $308,400
Cornerback Tremon Smith $289,621
Cornerback Desmond King $270,398
Running back Dameon Pierce $266,813
Tight end Jordan Akins $260,512
Fullback Troy Hairston $250,420
Linebacker Blake Cashman $236,788
Wide receiver Nico Collins $227,349
Aaron Wilson is a Texans and NFL reporter for KPRC 2 and click2houston.com