Back in August, nobody envisioned that Pittsburgh Steelers tackle Alejandro Villanueva would wind up starting over half the season for the team on the left side but an injury to starter Kelvin Beachum forced the former undrafted free agent into action.
Now that the regular season is behind us, the former Army captain should qualify for extra pay under the NFL’s “Performance Based Pay” program that compensates players for playing time based upon their salary levels.
Villanueva, who started 10 regular season games in 2015, played a total of 679 offensive snaps. While he’s certainly had his share of growing pains this season, he has played well as a whole.
So what is Performance Based Pay? According to the league, it is a fund that was created and is used as a supplemental form of player compensation based on a comparison of playing time to salary. Players become eligible to receive a bonus distribution in any regular season in which they play at least one official down.
Performance-Based Pay is computed by using a “player index.” To produce the index, a player’s regular-season playtime (total plays on offense, defense and special teams) is divided by his adjusted regular-season compensation (full season salary, prorated portion of signing bonus, earned incentives). Each player’s index is then compared to those of the other players on his team to determine the amount of his pay.
I’m not going to dare dive into that formula to determine what Villanueva’s PBP will be, but I can tell you that Beachum received $297,687 in PBP last year after starting all 16 games and playing 1,036 regular season offensive snaps. Like last year, the PBP numbers will likely be announced by the league sometime in March and Villanueva’s extra pay will not go against the team’s salary cap.
Villanueva earned $435,000 in 2015 and is under contract through the 2016 season.