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Sunday, February 25, 2024
Rates for the 2024 Best Venue Awards increase this Sunday at 11:59 p.m. ET

NFL Player Incentives Spice Up Final Regular-Season Weekend 

  • Player paydays become active fodder during game broadcasts and on social media.
  • Milestones are actively celebrated, further livening a game weekend led by playoff chases.
Orlando Ramirez-USA TODAY Sports

The Baltimore Ravens finished the regular season last weekend with essentially nothing to play for, having already locked up the top seed in the AFC playoffs. But that final game against Pittsburgh was still huge for Ravens linebacker Jadeveon Clowney.

Clowney recorded a sack against the Steelers, giving him 9.5 for the season and winning him a $750,000 bonus. The 10th-year pro, who has earned more than $83 million in his career, celebrated with an elaborate on-field dance.

“I didn’t know I had a sack, and then they told me,” Clowney said. “I was like, ‘Oh yeah,’ and you just start turning it up right now. I had a good time on that.”

In an NFL weekend otherwise dominated by playoff races, the chase for a whole slew of statistic- and appearance-based player bonuses and incentives frequently crept into game broadcasts and postgame comments. Among those achieved:

  • Kansas City Chiefs DE Chris Jones: $1.25 million for racking up 10 sacks.
  • Tampa Bay Buccaneers QB Baker Mayfield: $1 million for reaching the playoffs. 
  • Tennessee Titans receiver DeAndre Hopkins: $500,000 for hitting various statistical milestones. 
  • New York Giants WR Darius Slayton: $200,000 for  a pair of statistical milestones in the team’s final game, also increasing his 2024 roster bonus by the same amount. Slayton’s roster bonus for next season is now $2.6 million. 

Dozens of other players earned smaller bonuses on the regular season’s final weekend. Transcending mere contractual language, those bonus achievements quickly became active fodder for both live game broadcasts and on social media as players exuberantly celebrated their forthcoming money. Such feats also were the subject of player prop bets on multiple sportsbooks.

Jones said he now plans to buy his defensive line teammates and coaches Rolex watches. 

“He wanted to get that done,” Chiefs coach Andy Reid said of Jones’s pursuit of the bonus money. “[The $1.25 million], that’s a couple cheeseburgers right there he made.”

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