The Patriots have made a slight change to offensive tackle Sebastian Vollmer‘s contract, a league source tells Field Yates of ESPN.com. Previously, Vollmer’s deal called for him to earn a $1MM bonus if he played on 80% of New England’s offensive snaps, and $2MM if he played on 90%. The club has tweaked the contract to make the incentives a bit easier to attain — Vollmer will now earn the $1MM bonus if he plays on 70% of the the Pats’ offensive plays, and $2MM if he plays on 80%.
Vollmer, 30, has played on 91.2% of New England’s offensive snaps thus far, so, barring injury, he should easily break the 80% barrier and unlock the bonus money. The 2009 second-round pick mans right tackle for the Patriots, and as Yates notes, his only competition at the position is reserve Marcus Cannon, who occasionally sees time at both tackle spots. Vollmer is earning a $2MM base salary in the second season of a four-year, $27MM pact he signed in March 2013. Per Jeff Howe of the Boston Herald, Vollmer’s cap charge will rise by roughly $333K per season from ’14-’16, as the incentives are under the “other elements treated as a signing bonus” umbrella.
As Jason Fitzgerald of Over the Cap told me via email, this is a common technique employed by the Patriots. It’s something of a reward for a player who’s not only been with the club for some time, but is performing well. Clearly, the move doesn’t help New England’s salary cap, but it’s a nice gesture that costs them next to nothing.