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Monday, June 13, 2011
Benn has incentive for camp to start

By Pat Yasinskas

If there is one NFC South player feeling the biggest since of urgency for training camp to start, it’s probably Tampa Bay’s Arrelious Benn.

The second-year wide receiver is coming off major knee surgery and he recently said he’s walking a fine line in trying to be patient in a comeback that’s going well. But testing his knee isn’t the only reason why Benn is hoping for labor peace to come soon. When training camp starts, he’ll have a $750,000 check waiting for him inside One Buccaneer Place.

I just looked through contract information on all NFC South players (excluding rookies because they can’t have contracts until there’s a labor agreement) and Benn is the only player in the division with a reporting bonus for training camp. Other players have workout and roster bonuses (and many of those have been tied up, at least temporarily, by the lockout), but reporting bonuses are seldom used in the NFC South.

Carolina general manager Marty Hurney and Atlanta general manager Thomas Dimitroff traditionally avoid using reporting bonuses. The Saints did have one reporting bonus scheduled for this year. But that’s a moot point now. Tight end Jeremy Shockey was scheduled to earn a $500,000 reporting bonus, but the Saints released him and he signed with Carolina before the lockout started.

The Panthers signed Shockey to a contract that’s somewhat unique. He’s scheduled to make $3 million in base salary and $1 million of that is guaranteed. But Shockey also is scheduled to earn an extra $812,000 if he’s on the opening-day roster.