Trumaine McBride figured all along he would be a fifth-round draft pick.
At least he’s been compensated like one. The cornerback was the Bears’ biggest winner in the NFL’s performance-based pay system that rewards players for being on the field.
The system adopted in 2002 provides the highest payouts to players who play the most and earn the least. As a seventh-round draft pick, 221st overall, McBride received a signing bonus of $55,250 for his four-year contract with a base salary of $285,000 last season. The payout received in performance-based pay? In excess of $200,000 according to two league sources, meaning McBride will collect money commensurate to bonus pay of a fifth-round selection.
The Ole Miss product appeared in all 16 games and started nine as injuries wiped out the secondary. The league uses a complex formula that weighs play time (including special teams) with all facets of a player’s contract, including base pay and signing bonus. Safety Brandon McGowan, who played in 14 games and started nine, was next for the Bears. He collected roughly $180,000. Safety Danieal Manning and defensive end Mark Anderson also did well.
Every player who steps on the field receives a portion of the pie that was just more than $3 million for each team. Even safety Mike Brown and defensive tackle Dusty Dvoracek, both injured for the season in the opener, get checks. High-paid center Olin Kreutz started 16 games. The formula produced a check for him in the range of $20,000. So yes, even well earning veterans enjoy the riches of the performance-based pay system.
The biggest winner of all? Pittsburgh Steelers right tackle Willie Colon will cash a bonus check of $309,000.