The Potential Pay Raises From 2022 Pro Bowl Honors

With voting for the Pro Bowl in its prime, and a preliminary list of leaders from the fan votes released by the NFL, here is your annual guide toward how you, as a fan (or even players, if they just so happen to read this) can maximize your Pro Bowl vote to help top players in the league earn pay raises via mechanisms in the NFL Collective Bargaining Agreement.

There are two situations in the CBA where an original ballot (not as an alternate) Pro Bowl honor could result in a raise in salary:

  • Article 7, Section 4(e)(iv) creates a tier of Proven Performance Escalator that can raise the salary of a player drafted outside of the first round to the value of the 2nd round restricted free agent tender.
  • Article 7, Section 7(g)(iii-iv) calls for fifth year options on first round rookie contracts to equate to the transition tag if named to a Pro Bowl once in their first three seasons, and to the franchise tag for two or three.

Here are some of the players that could see notable raises in their salaries should they earn an original ballot Pro Bowl, grouped by conference and position. All numbers used are OTC’s estimates for the fifth year options for the 2020 first round picks, and for the franchise, transition, and RFA tenders. To maximize strategic voting, prioritize on your ballot players from the 2020 rookie class, as this will be last time they are eligible for the following pay raises.

AFC Quarterback

PlayerSalary TypeCurrent SalaryPotential SalaryPotential Raise
Joe BurrowFifth Year Option$22,673,000$28,049,000$5,376,000
Tua TagovailoaFifth Year Option$22,673,000$28,049,000$5,376,000
Justin HerbertFifth Year Option$28,049,000$31,497,000$3,448,000

Burrow and Herbert make repeat entrances to this section from last season, with Herbert succeeding in a Pro Bowl selection back then that’s already secured him the $5.376 million raise that Burrow could still obtain this season. But joining them this time around is Tagovailoa, who is currently leading in Pro Bowl fan votes among all players. With Patrick Mahomes and Josh Allen still lurking around, it’ll be daunting for all three top quarterback members of the 2020 rookie class to get in, but there should be room for at least one of them.

NFC Quarterback

PlayerSalary TypeCurrent SalaryPotential SalaryPotential Raise
Jalen HurtsProven Performance Escalator$2,629,000$4,308,000$1,679,000

Hurts leads the NFC in fan voting, and is currently only due the lowest PPE raise due to hardly playing in his rookie season. The slight bump here that would come with a highest PPE raise possible would be nice, although it could ultimately be trumped considerably more should an extension for Hurts be on the horizon.

AFC Wide Receiver

PlayerSalary TypeCurrent SalaryPotential SalaryPotential Raise
Ja’Marr ChaseFifth Year OptionTBDTBD~$3M-5M
Jaylen WaddleFifth Year OptionTBDTBD~$4M-$8M

Chase secured his first fifth year option raise from a rookie season Pro Bowl selection, and can secure the top raise with another one, although he’ll have much more competition this season, not helped by missing some time to injury. Chase will still have one more shot in 2023 if he doesn’t get it in 2022. Joining him in competition this season is Waddle, selected just one spot after Chase, who is currently 4th in the AFC in yardage. Unlike Chase, Waddle must get the Pro Bowl selection this season to maximize the value of his fifth year option.

NFC Wide Receiver

PlayerSalary TypeCurrent SalaryPotential SalaryPotential Raise
CeeDee LambFifth Year Option$13,511,000$17,465,000$3,954,000
Chris OlaveFifth Year OptionTBDTBD~$4.5M-$9M
Amon-Ra St. BrownProven Performance EscalatorTBDTBD~$1.8M-$2.2M

Lamb, Olave, and St. Brown are currently 4th, 5th, and 7th in receiving yards in the NFC. Justin Jefferson (who’s already secured the top fifth year option raise) and AJ Brown should have two spots locked up: the question will be whether any of these three can muscle their way into remaining spots. It’s most urgent for Lamb as this will be his last chance to improve that salary.

NFC Tackle

PlayerSalary TypeCurrent SalaryPotential SalaryPotential Raise
Andrew ThomasFifth Year Option$13,935,000$15,943,000$2,008,000
Tristan WirfsFifth Year Option$15,943,000$17,668,000$1,725,000
Christian DarrisawFifth Year OptionTBDTBD~$2.5M-$5M

These three tackles are at the top of the list on our OTC Valuation metric. Wirfs got the first Pro Bowl raise on his fifth year option last season, and he has a chance to maximize it this season, while Thomas has one shot to get to the level Wirfs is at. Darrisaw has both this season and next season available for shots at the Pro Bowl

AFC Guard

PlayerSalary TypeCurrent SalaryPotential SalaryPotential Raise
Michael OnwenuProven Performance Escalator$2,879,000$4,308,000$1,429,000
Trey SmithProven Performance EscalatorTBDTBD~$2.5M-$5M

Onwenu and Smith make repeat mentions to this list, as OTC valuation remains bullish on Onwenu, while Smith continues to excel as is typical of starting offensive linemen playing for Andy Reid.

AFC Center

PlayerSalary TypeCurrent SalaryPotential SalaryPotential Raise
Creed HumphreyProven Performance EscalatorTBDTBD~$2.5M-$5M

What was said for Smith above can just as easily be said for his teammate Humphrey, who also leads the fan vote at his position and conference.

NFC Center

PlayerSalary TypeCurrent SalaryPotential SalaryPotential Raise
Tyler BiadaszProven Performance Escalator$2,629,000$4,308,000$1,679,000

Biadasz might not have the level of attention that he had last season, but as he was included in this category, he remains here for one last chance.

NFC Outside Linebacker

PlayerSalary TypeCurrent SalaryPotential SalaryPotential Raise
Micah ParsonsFifth Year OptionTBDTBD~$3.5M

Parsons is the only notable name among the front seven in the NFL this time around, but he got outstanding note with a Pro Bowl honor his rookie season, and with Parsons currently second only to Nick Bosa in NFC sacks, he should be a lock to lock up that maximum raise this season.

NFC Inside Linebacker

PlayerSalary TypeCurrent SalaryPotential SalaryPotential Raise
Jordyn BrooksFifth Year Option$11,316,000$14,778,000$3,462,000

Brooks was a surprise leader in his category among the fan vote, but a Pro Bowl nod would be quite helpful for him, due to barely being drafted in the first round in 2020.

NFC Strong Safety

PlayerSalary TypeCurrent SalaryPotential SalaryPotential Raise
Talanoa HufangaProven Performance Escalator$1,055,000TBD~$1.8M-$2.2M

Despite playing little his rookie season, Hufanga quickly emerged to be a force in the 49ers’ defensive backfield, garnering 4 interceptions and 7 passes defensed thus far.

AFC Cornerback

PlayerSalary TypeCurrent SalaryPotential SalaryPotential Raise
Patrick Surtain IIFifth Year OptionTBDTBD~$3M-$6M
Sauce GardnerFifth Year OptionTBDTBD~$3.5M-$7M

Surtain returns to this list from last season as he continues his silent campaign of excellent coverage play, and this time he’s joined by another promising young corner in Gardner, who’s helped stabilize the defensive backfield for the Jets.

NFC Cornerback

PlayerSalary TypeCurrent SalaryPotential SalaryPotential Raise
Tariq WoolenProven Performance Escalator$1,100,000TBD ~$2M-$5M

Woolen is currently tied for the league lead in interceptions at 6, and tied for fourth in passes defensed at 12, strong numbers for a potential Pro Bowl campaign in his rookie season.