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No performance-based pay for 2011 season

The 54th Annual GRAMMY Awards - Press Room

LOS ANGELES, CA - FEBRUARY 12: NFL player Victor Cruz of the New York Giants poses in the press room at the 54th Annual GRAMMY Awards at Staples Center on February 12, 2012 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images)

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When the salary cap disappeared in 2010, another key component of player compensation evaporated as well.

The performance-based pay system, which primarily rewarded low-salary players who participated in a high number of snaps, was one of the various benefits that, according to the terms of the last CBA, didn’t exist in the final year of the contract.

The good news is that performance-based pay has returned to the new CBA. It’s right there, in Article 28. Titled “Performance-Based Pool.”

But Section 1 tells us everything we need to know about whether performance-based pay will return in 2011: It won’t. The first line says that the fund shall be created "[i]n each year League Year after the 2011 League Year.”

Mike Garafolo of the Newark Star-Ledger reports that the NFLPA has confirmed the absence of the performance-based pay system for the 2011 season. As Garafolo points out, this means that minimum-salary youngsters like Giants receiver Victor Cruz (left) won’t get any extra money based on appearing in most of the snaps in most of the games.

And while NFLPA spokesman Carl Francis tells Garafolo that the language regarding the application of the performance-based pay system for future years is still being negotiated, the CBA seems to be clear. According to Article 28, Section 2, the 2012 fund will be $3.46 million per team, with a maximum upward adjustment each year of five percent.

The NFLPA also has the unilateral right to reduce or free the amount each year, given that the performance-based pool represents money that otherwise would be available to each team under the salary cap.

So what does the absence of the pool mean for players? For the 2009 season, Vikings center John Sullivan picked up an extra $397,555. His base salary that season was $385,000.

For Cruz and other low-pay, high-presence players, the extra for 2011 will be exactly what it was for 2010.

Zero dollars plus benefits, babe.