NFL contracts spark a lot of conversation on a wide range of topics such as salary caps and trades. However, a not so sexy topic in Proven Performance Escalators, are awarded to players through the NFL’s 2020 CBA. Proven Performance Escalators, or PPEs, are mandatory awards afforded to Rookies who were drafted in the second through seventh rounds, who have participated in a substantial number of plays for their teams. These escalators are in every Rookie contract for both offensive and defensive players. These escalators are divided into three levels and are non-negotiable.
A Level-One PPE is awarded to a second-round pick if he participates in 60% of his team’s offensive or defensive plays in two out of three of his first three seasons, or if he participates in an average of 60% of their team’s offensive or defensive plays throughout his first three years. Third through seventh round draft picks are awarded Level-One PPEs if they participate in 35% of their team’s offensive or defensive plays in two out of three of their first three seasons, or if they participate in an average of 35% of their team’s offensive or defensive plays throughout their first three years.
A Level-Two PPE is awarded if a player participates in a minimum of 55% of his team’s offensive or defensive players in each of his first three regular seasons. Level-Two is available for second to seventh round picks.
A Level-Three PPE is awarded if a player is selected to a Pro Bowl only on the original ballot in any of his first three seasons. Level-Three is also available for second to seventh round picks. PPEs will increase a player’s fourth season base salary.
A few notable players that will be eligible for PPEs this year include:
Buffalo Bills RB Devin Singletary, who will be eligible for Level-One PPEs. Over his first three seasons he participated in an average of 56% of his team’s offensive snaps. As a third-round draft pick, 35% is the requirement to be eligible for Level-One. Pittsburgh Steelers WR Diontae Johnson will also be eligible for Level-One PPEs. Over his first three seasons he participated, on average, in 72% of his team’s offensive snaps. He too, was a third-round draft pick. New England Patriots punter Jake Bailey will receive escalators next year in his fourth season. He became eligible for PPEs by way of his Pro Bowl selection. PPEs will raise his salary next year from $965,000 to $3.97 million. Clearly proving how beneficial these escalators can be to rookies.
A few notable players that will likely be eligible for PPEs next year include:
Buffalo Bills WR Gabriel Davis, who will be eligible for Level-One PPEs. In his first season he participated in 73% of his team’s offensive snaps and 47% in his second season. As a fourth-round draft pick, he needs to only participate in 35% of offensive plays in two out of his first three seasons. Pittsburgh Steelers WR Chase Claypool will be eligible for Level-One PPEs. In his first season he participated in 63% of his team’s offensive plays and 70% of his team’s offensive plays during his second season. As a second-round draft pick, he needs to only participate in 60% of offensive plays for two out of three seasons.
Although not widely discussed, PPEs are very beneficial for Rookies in their initial contracts that are heavily scrutinized. PPEs are a great incentive and a strategic way to increase player contracts. Information regarding PPEs can be found in the NFL 2020 CBA in Article VII Section IV.