The second-year linebacker received $349,437 in performance-based pay according to the National Football Post. Guyton’s total was good for the third-highest amount received by any player in the NFL, trailing only Vikings center John Sullivan ($397,555) and Bears corner Zack Bowman ($355,355).
Every year the NFL doles out over $109.5 million in performance-based pay, divided equally among all 30 teams. For those who don’t feel inclined to break out a calculator, that’s good for $3,422,875 per team. The player’s salary-cap hit and play-time percentages then go into a formula to determine who get the biggest check from the NFL.
This system rewards everyone from Sullivan and Guyton to veterans like Brian Urlacher, who parlayed his 35 snaps in 2009 into a robust $452 pay check. Urlacher also is reported to have received over $5.6 million in base salary last season while Guyton made just $385,000 to patrol the middle of the field in New England.
Underpaid young players who were drafted in the later rounds or — as in Guyton’s case — overlooked entirely on draft day can get healthy checks through the NFL’s system. Of the 12 players who received over $300,000 in performance-based pay, only two were in their third season or later and none were drafted before the fourth round.
Guyton made a big impact on the Pats defense when he stepped in for an injured Jerod Mayo, and he was able to turn his on-field success into a nice offseason bonus. The Georgia Tech product is an exclusive rights free agent this offseason, meaning that the Patriots still retain his rights, but that he is in need of a new contract. You can bet that Guyton hopes his next big payday comes from Robert Kraft and not Roger Goodell.