The NFL’s Pro Bowl rosters were announced this past week, and the Falcons are sending two players to Las Vegas — Kyle Pitts and Josh Harris. The former is the first rookie tight end selected to the Pro Bowl in quite a long time, while the latter has been a core special teamer on the Falcons for much of the past decade — both first-time Pro Bowlers.
The Pro Bowl is special for several different reasons. Traveling to a destination and playing in a game is different from All-Pro honors, so players can socialize and catch up with other top players in the league. The Pro Bowl is an event, while All-Pro is just a designation. But also, Pro Bowl incentives are tied into contracts. According to Michael Rothstein, an additional $2.2 million was made around the league for players picked for the Pro Bowl — either in roster bonuses or escalators to future salaries.
The Falcons had plenty of potential candidates other than Pitts and Harris, but they weren’t selected for whatever reason. There can be arguments had for Cordarrelle Patterson, A.J. Terrell, Chris Lindstrom, and Younghoe Koo being snubbed; however, since I’m such a positive person, I’ll present a silver lining within a frustrating situation. I haven’t been able to find details regarding Patterson’s contract regarding Pro Bowl incentives. Still, Lindstrom and Terrell, like every rookie first-round pick in the NFL, have verbiage pertaining to fifth-year options and Pro Bowls.
- Playtime: These players will be eligible for a fifth year base salary calculated from the average of the 3rd to 20th highest salaries at their position over the past five seasons, provided that their snap counts over their first three seasons meet one of the following three criteria:
- 75% or greater in two of their first three seasons
- an average of 75% or greater over all three seasons
- 50% or greater over all three seasons
- One Pro Bowl: Players who are named to exactly one Pro Bowl on the original ballot (not as an alternate) will be eligible for a fifth year base salary equal to the transition tender at their position.
Lindstrom would’ve counted just under $15 million on his fifth-year option but will instead cost the team $12.745 million against the salary cap. The Falcons will surely pick up that fifth-year option for Lindstrom, and even though it is disappointing now that he won’t be acknowledged for his incredible season, it’ll save the Falcons some cap space in the future. Much like Lindstrom, Terrell’s fifth-year option can increase several million dollars if he makes a Pro Bowl before the team decides to exercise it. It is discouraging Lindstrom and Terrell weren’t chosen, but there is a silver lining; the Falcons need all the cap space they can get.