The NFL's performance-based pay program rewards players who outplay their salaries on an annual basis.
This year featured a few notable names, including a safety who entered the NFL as a late-round pick and cashed in with the highest distribution of all eligible players, and another defender whose perseverance inspired millions.
Marcus Epps received $880,384 in performance-based pay distributions for his performance in 2022 as part of an Eagles team that won the NFC East, cruised through the NFC Side of the playoffs and nearly won Super Bowl LVII.
A former sixth-round pick out of Wyoming, Epps made his way to Philadelphia via waivers and served as a rotational defender prior to becoming a starter in 2022, his first season in which he started all 17 games. He recorded a career-high 94 tackles, six passes defensed and one forced fumble in a contract season, leading to a two-year, $12 million deal signed with the Raiders this week.
Over four years, Epps earned just $2.68 million, per Over The Cap. An extra $880,384 goes a long way toward his career earnings, which will increase significantly under his new deal in Las Vegas.
Bills safety Damar Hamlin also earned extra pay because of his performance in 2022. Hamlin started in 13 of 15 games played, allowing for the performance-based pool to pay him an extra $652,470, bringing his earnings to almost $1.5 million in total for 2022.
Hamlin played an understated but important part in Buffalo's defense for much of the season until he suffered a cardiac arrest during a Week 17 game in Cincinnati. The safety spent nearly a week in a Cincinnati hospital before being flown to Buffalo, where he remained until his release on Jan. 11, continuing his recovery at home.
He has since made consistent progress on a long road back to potentially playing football again, and appeared at NFL Honors in Phoenix prior to Super Bowl LVII.
The full list of performance-based payouts can be viewed below: