If you think money doesn’t matter, don’t tell that to Jacksonville Jaguars defensive lineman Dawuane Smoot. Smoot entered the final game of the 2021 season with money tied to his performance.
And when Smoot picked up his sixth sack of the season in Jacksonville’s upset win over the Indianapolis Colts, he earned $250,000 in incentives — this after a message from his wife, Aumari.
“Me and my wife, she told me don’t come home if I don’t get the sack,” Smoot told reporters in Jacksonville. “So I’m coming home.”
He also joked that bonus will be able to buy them a lifetime supply of diapers for their second child, who Smoot helped deliver in October.
In the NFL, if winning is paramount, money is not too far behind. And for some players, finishing out the 2021 season in the way they did gave them extra cash.
For some, the incentives were based on how much they played. For others, they were tied to how they performed.
Addison had two sacks in the regular season finale, pushing him to seven for the season and earning him $250,000 for reaching at least six sacks. He was one sack away from another $250,000.
Brady made an extra $1.125 million on Sunday. With Tampa Bay finishing with 4.3 rushing yards per carry — better than last season’s 4.12 yards per carry — that unlocked incentives, and because of that, he earned $562,500 for eclipsing 25 touchdown passes (he led the NFL with 43) and another $562,500 for finishing in the Top 5 in passing yards (he led the NFL with 5,316). Brady missed another equal payout for not finishing Top 5 in completion percentage (he finished ninth), passer rating (finished seventh) and yards per completion (he finished No. 16).
Additionally, Brady made another $500,000 for making the playoffs and playing at least 75 percent of Tampa Bay’s snaps. If the Bucs win this weekend vs. the Philadelphia Eagles (1 p.m. ET, Fox), that jumps to $750,000, and depending how far Tampa Bay advances, it could escalate as high as $2.25 million.
Campbell made $2 million by playing in 56 percent of Baltimore’s snaps this season. It was a little bit dicey Sunday, because had he fallen below 55 percent, he would have only made $1.5 million.
Clowney made $1 million in incentives this season — $250,000 for playing 60 percent of Cleveland’s snaps and $750,000 for reaching nine sacks. Had Cleveland made the playoffs, he would have made an extra $500,000.
Cook earned $1 million for catching 48 passes this season, his highest total since 2018. He hit the incentive number exactly but fell four touchdowns shy of the eight touchdowns he needed for an extra $500,000.
Golden made $1 million this season because he reached 11 sacks (he had incentives for six, eight and 10 sacks). He missed out on adding another $1 million by not reaching 13.
Green made $1.25 million in incentives this season for his 54-catch, 848-yard campaign because the Cardinals made the playoffs, but he missed out on an extra $500,000 for not reaching 60 catches and 900 yards. He has a chance to make another $250,000 if Arizona wins the NFC Championship Game and he plays 50 percent of snaps in that game.
Gronkowski’s seven-catch, 137-yard day made him an extra $1 million for reaching 55 catches (he had 55) and 750 yards (he had 802). He did miss out on an extra $500,000 for not reaching nine touchdowns (he finished with six).
By playing 96.8 percent of the snaps and Arizona making the playoffs, Hicks made an extra $2 million.
Howard cashed in big, making an extra $3.5 million in incentives. He played in over 90 percent of Miami’s snaps this season (he played in 91 percent) and Miami improved in specific defensive categories, unlocking $2.5 million in money for Howard along with the $1 million bonus for making the Pro Bowl.
By eclipsing the 70-catch mark — Jones finished with 73 — he made $500,000. He finished seven catches shy of an extra $500,000.
Ogunjobi earned $666,666 for his seven sacks this season. Had he reached eight sacks, that number would have elevated to $1 million.
Smith did not get a sack Sunday against the Detroit Lions and finished with nine sacks this season, so he earned $1.25 million in incentives. Had he finished with 10 sacks, he would have made an extra $750,000.
The stalwart left tackle made $3.5 million already this season for eclipsing 65 percent of the snaps (he played in 85 percent) and Los Angeles making the playoffs. He can make another $500,000 if the Rams beat Arizona on Monday night (8:15 p.m., ET, ESPN/ABC), and another $500,000 if the Rams win the Super Bowl.
Players who missed out:
Free-agent wide receiver Antonio Brown missed out on nearly $1 million in incentives for failing to reach 50 catches, 600 yards and five touchdowns. Each of those markers would have earned him $333,333. He finished the season with 42 catches for 545 yards and four touchdowns.
Atlanta Falcons outside linebacker Dante Fowler Jr. missed out on $1 million by failing to reach five sacks. He failed to get one Sunday and finished with 4.5.
Ravens outside linebacker Justin Houston failed to reach six sacks (he had 4.5 after not getting onecallin Sunday vs. the Pittsburgh Steelers) so he was unable to unlock up to $2 million in incentives.
New Orleans Saints safety Malcolm Jenkins missed out on a chance to earn $500,000 because the Saints failed to make the playoffs.
Kansas City Chiefs defensive tackle Chris Jones needed 10 sacks to make $1.25 million. He finished with nine after not getting one Sunday against the Denver Broncos.
Carolina Panthers outside linebacker Haason Reddick missed out on $2 million in incentives — $1 million for falling to reach 13 sacks (he finished with 11 after not getting any Sunday vs. the Bucs) and another $1 million for missing the Pro Bowl.