The close of the 2015 season brings it with some salary adjustments due to aspects of the collective bargaining agreement. The proven performance escalator (PPE) was added to the 2011 collective bargaining agreement as a way for draft picks in rounds three through seven to earn some extra money. It is based on snap count, and if a certain threshold is met in the first three years of a rookie contract, a player automatically gets a pay raise in year four. First and second round picks are not eligible for the PPE.
This year, Gerald Hodges has earned that pay raise. Prior to the offseason, Hodges's base salary was listed at $675,000. A look at the NFLPA salary database reveals he will now earn $1,696,000 in base salary. That obviously removes $1 million from the team's salary cap space, with a little more than $53 million in cap space (more to come on that in the coming days). It is worth noting that the salary is not fully guaranteed.
Here is a rundown of how the PPE works. The 49ers had no players earn it last year thanks to their abysmal 2012 draft class. However, they have several candidates in the coming years. The CBA states that an eligible player will qualify for the PPE in his fourth League year if:
(1) he participated in a minimum of 35% of his Club's offensive or defensive plays in any two of his previous three regular seasons; or
(2) he participated in a "cumulative average" of at least 35% of his Club's offensive or defensive plays over his previous three regular seasons. "Cumulative average" means the sum of the total number of offensive or defensive plays in which the player participated over the applicable seasons, divided by the sum of the Club's offensive or defensive plays during the same seasons. (By way of example, if a player participates in 600 of the Club's 1,000 offensive plays in his first season, 290 of the Club's 1,000 plays in his second season, and 310 of the Club's 1,000 plays in his third season for a total of 1,200 plays out of a possible 3,000, the cumulative average would equal 40%).
As far as the salary is concerned, the PPE shall equal the difference between (i) the amount of the Restricted Free Agent Qualifying Offer for a Right of First Refusal Only as set forth in, or as calculated in accordance with, Article 9 for the League Year in such player's fourth season and (ii) the player's year-four Rookie Salary (excluding signing bonus and amounts treated as signing bonus). The resulting amount shall be added to the stated amount of the player's year-four Paragraph 5 Salary.
The 49ers 2013 draft class has started to come around, at least a little bit, with Quinton Dial emerging as a presence on the defensive line. However, Dial will not earn the PPE, as he came up just short of 35 percent of playing time in 2014. That being said, odds are good he ends up getting a contract extension sooner rather than later.
Here is a look at the snap count percentages through three seasons for each of the 49ers 2013 draft picks. They are all entering the final year of their rookie contracts, and will remain on the base salary at which they signed.
WR Quinton Patton
DE Quinton Dial
OLB Corey Lemonier
ILB Gerald Hodges
2015: 32.1% & 14.1% of Vikings snaps
The 2014 class features two players who have earned the PPE for 2017. Marcus Martin and Aaron Lynch both surpassed 35 percent of snaps in each of their first two seasons, which means they are guaranteed the PPE after next year. Dontae Johnson surpassed 35 percent of snaps in his rookie year, but was under 35 percent this past year. He needs to either surpass 35 percent of snaps, or just finish with a three-year average of 35 percent in order to earn the PPE.
Kenneth Acker played in 70 percent of defensive snaps and 40 percent of special teams snaps this past year. He did not play his rookie season, but he would not need to reach 35 percent in year three
C Marcus Martin
OG Brandon Thomas
WR Bruce Ellington
CB Dontae Johnson
OLB Aaron Lynch
CB Keith Reaser
CB Kenneth Acker