In the final week of the regular season, NFL players and teams are working towards a wide range of goals. Some teams are hoping for better draft positioning, some are fighting for playoff spots, and others have incentives to earn specific statistical accomplishments for their players.
This article will focus on the latter, and I’ll break down some of the most noteworthy players to keep an eye on. Remember that teams fighting for playoff spots won’t be focused on these accomplishments, and their primary intention will be to win. In addition, don’t simply place wagers based on this list alone as the sportsbooks are well aware of these statistical benchmarks and will price it into the number.
NFL Player Contract Incentives
JuJu Smith-Schuster: The Chiefs WR signed an incentive-laden contract over the offseason, and he has already earned $3 million in bonuses with his 76-catch, 898-yard season. Smith-Schuster needs another two yards for a $500,000 bonus.
Christian Kirk: The Jaguars WR got a $500,000 bonus when he hit 1,000 receiving yards last week, and he can get another $500,000 bonus with another 91 yards to hit 1,100. He’s also two catches away from 80 receptions on the year, at which point he would earn a $500,000 bonus.
Kirk said that he told his agent not to keep him updated on how close he is to these numbers. “I’d rather find out at the end, you know?” he said. “I’m not going to go begging, you know, especially if the game’s on the line and we’re trying to win it.”
Zay Jones: Fellow Jaguars WR Zay Jones has some money on the line, as well, as he can reach a $250,000 bonus with another two catches on Saturday as he would reach 80 catches for the year. He can also get a $500,000 bonus with another 98 yards to reach 900 for the season.
Evan Engram: Another Jaguars player has an incentive boost on Saturday as Engram can earn an additional $200,000 bonus if he gets 61 more yards (to get to 800) or 11 more catches (to get to 80). He already has a $600,000 boost from getting to 700 yards.
Engram, like Kirk, said that he wouldn’t be focused on his individual statistics. “We’re in a situation where we’re trying to [make the playoffs], so I can only see that really manifesting itself in like a situation where you’re going to be done soon.”
Isaiah McKenzie: The Bills WR needs 46 receiving yards for a $100,000 bonus on Sunday. McKenzie already had 5 catches for 44 yards against the Patriots earlier this season.
Gerald Everett: The Chargers TE has 55 catches, and with another 5 catches to get to 60, he would earn a $250,000 bonus. He has six five-catch games, including one against the Broncos this season.
Tyler Higbee: Higbee needs another 13 receiving yards to hit 600 for the season, and he would earn a $500,000 bonus at that point.
Kalif Raymond: The Lions WR has 43 catches for 550 yards at the moment, and he can earn some money on Sunday. With 50 catches (7 more), he’d get to $125,000. He already earned $125,000 from reaching 500 receiving yards.
Jamaal Williams: The Lions RB has had an excellent season, and he needs 6 more rushing yards to hit 1,000 for the year, at which point he’d earn a $250,000 bonus.
NFL Player Record-Breaking Incentives
Patrick Mahomes: Despite losing Tyreek Hill over the offseason, Patrick Mahomes is 430 passing yards away from breaking Peyton Manning’s single-season passing record of 5,477 yards. He can do so against a Raiders defense he has dominated in recent years.
Justin Jefferson: While the Vikings won’t gain much from their game against the Bears on Sunday, it’s a meaningful one for Jefferson. He needs 194 receiving yards to break Calvin Johnson’s single-season receiving yardage record, and this is a Bears defense he torched for a cool 154 yards in Week 5.
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