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Shon Coleman gets pay bump due to proven performance escalator

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He did not play a single snap for the 49ers, but his first two years in Cleveland resulted in the pay raise.

The San Francisco 49ers acquired offensive tackle Shon Coleman on August 31st last year, and although he did not play a single snap in 2018, he has earned himself a pay raise. His base salary in 2019 will rise from $755,280 to $2 million thanks to the proven performance escalator.

The PPE is available to players drafted in rounds 3 through 7, and provides for a pay raise in the fourth year of a rookie contract if a player reaches a snap count benchmark. He can earn the PPE in one of two ways: 1) Play a minimum of 35 percent of his team’s offensive or defensive snaps in any two of the first three seasons, or 2) play a cumulative average of at least 35 percent of his team’s offensive or defensive snaps over the previous three regular seasons.

The salary “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 Cleveland Browns drafted Coleman in 2016. He played in 51.7 6.0 percent of offensive snaps his rookie season, and then 97.8 percent of offensive snaps in 2017. Even with no snaps this year, his cumulative average for three years finished over 35 percent. (Updated with correct 2016 percentage)

Coleman’s salary is not guaranteed, so the 49ers could decide he’s not worth keeping around at this new number. It is also possible they think he can be a replacement option for the recently released Garry Gilliam.

The only other player on the 49ers roster who could have earned the PPE is Ronald Blair. he played in 49.8 percent of defensive snaps this past season, but did not reach 35 percent in either of his first two seasons. His cumulative average for his first three seasons was 29.4 percent.

The good news for Blair is he is eligible for a contract extension this offseason. He had a solid season and could be a very capable rotational player. I would not be at all surprised to see the 49ers extend him.

The 49ers 2016 draft class was mostly a disaster. After DeForest Buckner, Ronald Blair is the only player of note. Joshua Garnett is still on the roster and could compete for a guard spot this summer, but it also would not be surprising if he was cut. After that, Rashard Robinson was a decent option briefly and Aaron Burbridge was a solid special-teamer before getting hurt. Jeff Driskel turned into an adequate option in Cincinnati, but that’s about it.

A year ago, Trent Brown and Eli Harold both earned a PPE raise, and it’s kind of an interesting coincidence that both were traded by the 49ers. Here are the 2017 draft class snap count percentages thus far. Again, only picks in rounds three through seven are eligible, and it only counts offensive or defensive snaps.

CB Ahkello Witherspoon

2017: 58.7%
2018: 65.2%

2020 PPE: Earned it, barring him getting released

QB C.J. Beathard

2017: 35.4%
2018: 32.2%

2020 PPE: Just missed on the second 35 percent, and with Jimmy Garoppolo returning and Nick Mullens emerging, Beathard best shot at the PPE would be getting traded.

TE George Kittle

2017: 53.7%
2018: 87.9%

2020 PPE: Earned it

WR Trent Taylor

2017: 44.6%
2018: 30.4%

2020 PPE: Injury slowed him down in year two, but I think we see him get over the 35 percent mark in year three and earn the PPE.

LB Pita Taumoepenu

2017: 0%
2018: 2.0%

2020 PPE: He would have to play near 100 percent of snaps to have a shot at the PPE, and even that might not be enough depending on snap totals.

DT D.J. Jones

2017: 13.0%
2018: 22.3%

2020 PPE: He would need a large workload this coming season to get up to a 35 percent cumulative average. Given his rotational role, even with the departure of Earl Mitchell, that seems unlikely.

S Adrian Colbert

2017: 47.5%
2018: 29.8%

2020 PPE: It’s all going to come down to if he secures the starting free safety role, or if the team makes a move for Earl Thomas.