- Adam Teicher, ESPN Staff Writer
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The NFL will hand out in 2016 $3.46 million in performance-based pay to Kansas City Chiefs players from last season. The system is designed to get money into the pockets of lower-paid players who got a lot of snaps and, in theory at least outperformed their contracts.
Rookie cornerback Marcus Cooper was the big winner among Chiefs players. Cooper will receive $253,736 in addition to his league-minimum $405,000 salary he received from the Chiefs last year.
Cooper was a nice find for the Chiefs last year. A seventh-round draft pick by San Francisco, Cooper was placed on waivers by the 49ers just days before the start of the regular season. The Chiefs claimed him and it didn't take Cooper long to become the third cornerback.
His strong play was no small factor in Kansas City's 9-0 start. Cooper's play faltered down the stretch, one reason the Chiefs wound up winning just two of their last eight games. But the performance-based pay system is designed to take care of players like Cooper and in this case at least, it worked.
Everybody who played in a game for the Chiefs last season will receive some extra money. Linebacker Tamba Hali received more than $15 million last year from the Chiefs in salary and bonuses, but he will pick up an extra $7,540. Defensive lineman Kyle Love, who joined the Chiefs at midseason and played in one game before being released, will get $568. Tight end Travis Kelce, who was in uniform for only the season-opening game in Jacksonville before a knee injury ended his season, gets $209.