45-man active roster and playtime bonuses
I started instituting 45-man active roster bonuses for Packer players in 2005 to give players more upside while protecting the team’s downside due to injury.
The bonuses -- providing per game incentives as long as the player is active -- have become a staple in not only Packer contracts, but those of other teams. And on a weekend such as this one ahead, several teams are playing meaningless games and may be resting players who have such bonuses.
Further, playing time incentives are common in many NFL contracts, rewarding players for achieving certain thresholds of participation through the season.
I remember at the end of the 2007 season in Green Bay when we rested several starters in the last regular season game. Then, in the midst of the celebration after winning a playoff game against the Seahawks -- in a lovely snowstorm -- two players came up to me and asked me about playtime and roster bonuses for that last game. Players are always thinking about their money and their contract.
As management, it was always necessary to make sure coaches are not aware of bonuses and incentives in players’ contracts in order to avoid any appearance of impropriety. It will be interesting to see how teams maneuver around the sticky issue of these roster bonuses and other incentive clauses juxtaposed against coach’s decisions to not play starting players.
Luck-y or not?
Finally, it will be interesting to see what happens with the Colts-Jaguars game this weekend. The Colts can insure the top pick with a loss. Alternatively, the Jaguars can -- assuming the Rams lose to the 49ers -- go a long way in preventing the Colts from having the top pick with a loss.
And the prize, of course, is Andrew Luck, perhaps a once-in-a-generation player that can change the fortunes of the team with a horseshoe as it mascot.
Having been with the Packers when we drafted Aaron Rodgers while having Brett Favre, I understand the value of protecting the future. In Indianapolis, Peyton Manning is the past and maybe the present; Andrew Luck is the future. The Colts have to take him if they have the chance.
The Colts can secure their future by losing. The Jaguars can potentially improve their future with a loss as well. Look for a game with a lot of safeties:)
Wishing all of you a safe, happy and healthy New Year!
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