Only one Chief played more defensive snaps than cornerback Steven Nelson in 2016, and for that, the second-year pro was rewarded with nearly a quarter-million dollars.
The NFL Management Council released each team’s performance-based pay distributions for the 2016 season, and Nelson topped all Chiefs with an additional payout of $246,997. The program was implemented in 2002 as an additional way to reward players who outperform their contracts.
Players drafted in the mid to late rounds — like Nelson, a third-round pick in 2015 — tend to get most of the money in this season’s pool, which amounted to $3.995 million per club.
Thirteen Chiefs received six-figure payouts, including guard Laurent Duvernay-Tardif ($240,965), safety Daniel Sorensen ($224,090), guard Zach Fulton ($219,131), receiver Chris Conley ($177,635) and receiver Tyreek Hill ($175,165).
Nelson, who recorded 65 tackles and 16 pass deflections in 15 games in 2016, earned an additional $64,908 from the Chiefs’ $1 million veteran-performance pool. Duvernay-Tardif and Sorensen each earned more than $60,000 from this pool.
Players have been paid over $1 billion, cumulatively, since the inception of the system, which is computed through a formula of playing time divided by adjusted regular-season compensation.