Article

Three Members Of Steelers’ 2020 Draft Class On Track To Receive PPE Raises In 2023

With the Pittsburgh Steelers about to start their 2022 training camp, now is as perfect time to take a look at three of the team’s former 2020 draft picks that stand to get raises in 2023 via the NFL’s Proven Performance Escalator program. Those three players are wide receiver Chase Claypool, outside linebacker Alex Highsmith and guard Kevin Dotson.

In the league’s new CBA, the Proven Performance Escalator is now a three-level, non-negotiable amount in which a player’s base salary in the fourth year of his rookie contract increases if he meets certain predetermined thresholds.

The Level One PPE in the CBA is structured differently for second-round picks and those selected in Rounds 3 through 7. To qualify for Level One, second-round picks must either (a) play 60 percent of his team’s offensive or defensive plays in any two of his first three seasons or (b) participate in a cumulative average of 60 percent of his team’s offensive or defensive plays over the course of his first three regular seasons. For third- through seventh-round picks, players can hit either (a) or (b) above, but the threshold to reach drops to 35 percent of such plays. For such players, the Level One PPE increases a player’s fourth-year base salary by the difference of the original-round tender for restricted free agents set for the player’s fourth season and the player’s Year 4 rookie salary, less any signing bonus prorations. This amount is then added to the player’s Year 4 base salary.

A player selected in the second through seventh round will qualify for the Level Two PPE if he participates in 55 percent of his team’s offensive or defensive plays in each of his first three regular seasons. The amount of the Level Two PPE is the difference of the original-round tender in the player’s fourth season and his Year 4 rookie salary (minus any signing bonus prorations), plus $250,000. This amount is then added to the player’s year-four base salary.

To qualify for the Level Three PPE, a second- through seventh-round pick must be selected to the Pro Bowl on the original ballot in at least one of his first three seasons. The Level Three PPE is equal to the difference between the second-round tender for restricted free agents and the player’s Year 4 rookie salary, less any signing bonus prorations. The player’s Year 4 base salary increases by this amount.

Now that the specifics related to the Proven Performance Escalator are out of the way, we can take a look at the specific PPE situations for Claypool, Highsmith, and Dotson.

With Claypool, a former second round pick, he has already qualified for a Level One PPE raise in 2023 as he played 63.0% and 70.2% of all offensive snaps played in 2020 and 2021, respectively. Claypool is also on pace to at least earn a Level Two PPE raise in 2023 as each of his first two NFL seasons have ended with him playing more than 55% of the total offensive snaps. In short, Claypool needs to play at least 55% of all offensive snaps once again in 2022 to qualify for a Level Two PP raise in 2023. Should Claypool make the Pro Bowl in 2022 via an original ballot selection, he would then qualify for a Level Three PPE raise in 2023. That amount, by the way, is projected to be around $4.308 million as we sit here in July. Claypool is currently scheduled to earn $1,512,268 in 2023 so at worst, he will earn around 3,718,500 in 2023 as he has already qualified for a Level One PPE increase.

With Highsmith, a former third round pick, he has already qualified for a Level One PPE raise in 2023 as he played 42.5% and 73.0% of all offensive snaps played in 2020 and 2021, respectively. Highsmith can’t reach a Level Two PPE level for 2023, however, as he failed to reach the 55% mark in his 2020 rookie season. Should, however, Highsmith make the Pro Bowl in 2022 via an original ballot selection, he would then qualify for a Level Three PPE raise in 2023. Once again, that amount is projected to be around $4.308 million as we sit here in July. Highsmith is currently scheduled to earn $1,089,000 in 2023 so at worst, he will earn around 3,718,500 in 2023 as he has already qualified for a Level One PPE raise.

With Dotson, a former fourth round pick, he has yet to fully qualify for any type of PPE increase in 2023. He is, however, on pace to do so as he has averaged 40.4% offensive snaps played in his first two seasons. If that average holds above 35% through the 2022 season, Dotson will qualify for a Level One PPE raise in 2023. Like Highsmith, Dotson would need to make the Pro Bowl in 2022 on an original ballot to qualify for a Level Three PPE raise. Dotson is currently scheduled to earn $1,010,000 in 2023.

To Top
error: Alert: Content is protected !!