New Cincinnati Bengals linebacker Preston Brown has a league-high $2 million workout bonus, which is tied to his participation in the team’s offseason workout program that is set to kick off on Monday.
The $2M is part of the one-year deal that Brown inked with the Bengals in March, which carries a maximum value of $5M. It’s a robust total for a workout bonus, as only one other player in the league, Eagles defensive tackle Haloti Ngata, has a bonus of this nature north of $1M.
It also marks the second straight year that a Bengals free agent linebacker signing has the league’s largest offseason workout bonus available, as Kevin Minter — who recently signed with the Jets after spending 2017 in Cincinnati — had a $1.1M workout bonus last year.
While the requirements to earn a workout bonus depend on the team and how the contract is negotiated, it is not uncommon for a player to need to participate in at least 90 percent of a team’s workouts to earn the bonus.
Brown, who returns to his hometown of Cincinnati for his fifth pro season, was one of three players to tally 144 tackles in 2017, tied for the league lead. He’s expected to play a prominent role in Cincinnati’s defense, which will be without fellow linebacker Vontaze Burfict (suspension) for the first four weeks of the season.
Not every player in the NFL has a workout bonus in his contract, as some teams eschew including such bonuses at all. However, some teams — including Cincinnati and Green Bay amongst others — rely heavily on the bonuses for core players. There are 20 total NFL players this offseason that can earn $500,000 or more through a workout bonus, which includes Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers ($500,000), Panthers quarterback Cam Newton ($500,000), Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins ($500,000), Patriots wide receiver Julian Edelman ($500,000) and 49ers quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo ($600,000).