David Johnson and J.J. Nelson have become key cogs for the Cardinals the past few seasons, and they are getting rewarded for it.
The 2015 draft picks will each receive a base salary pay bump to approximately $1.9 million for 2018 by qualifying for the Proven Performance Escalator, according to OverTheCap.com. The fourth-year salary jump is rewarded to players who participate in at least 35 percent of their team’s offensive or defensive snaps in two of their first three seasons, or at least 35 percent cumulatively over that time.
Johnson has played in 41.8 percent of the team’s offensive snaps since being drafted and surpassed 35 percent in both 2015 and 2016, per OTC. Nelson didn’t reach the cumulative total, but surpassed the 35 percent playing time threshold the past two years.
Johnson and Nelson’s new base salaries will equal that of the lowest restricted free agent tender, which has not yet been finalized. Wide receiver John Brown received the same raise a season ago.
The Proven Performance Escalator was added to the collective bargaining agreement in 2011 to reward offensive and defensive players drafted in rounds three through seven. Undrafted players and those chosen in the top two rounds are not eligible.