PHOENIX — Cincinnati Bengals rookie linebacker Vontaze Burfict earned the top amount in the NFL’s performance-based pay program, nearly $300,000.
Seahawks cornerback Richard Sherman was 17th on the list with $249,201.
The program compensates players for playing time that far exceeds their salary levels. More than $110.7 million will be distributed to players for their performance during the 2012 season, with Burfict, an undrafted free agent from Arizona State, getting $299,465 in additional pay. Burfict played for the rookie minimum salary of $390,000 and an additional signing bonus of $1,000.
Trailing Burfict on the performance-based pay list were Eagles guard Dallas Reynolds, who earns another $294,844, and Saints center Brian de la Puente, who gets $289,875 more.
Reynolds, a second-year guard, had 14 starts after none in his rookie year. De la Puente became the Saints’ full-time center last season.
According to ESPN’s Adam Schefter, Seahawks’ rookie quarterback Russell Wilson was awarded a $222,000 pay-for-performance bonus from the rookie performance pool — more than half his $405,000 base salary.