Despite missing final five games, Lions safety Tavon Wilson earns bonus

ALLEN PARK, Mich. -- Tavon Wilson walked off the field Thanksgiving in pain, clutching the shoulder that had been bothering him all season long.

Days later, he landed on injured reserve and missed the final five games of Detroit's season. Yet he managed to do something else despite sitting out the rest of the year: Earn a quarter-million dollars in bonus pay. Barely.

Even though he missed the final five games of the season for the Lions, the pending free agent picked up an extra $250,000 in bonuses because of his contract. He earned $100,000 of it for playing at least 35 percent of the defensive snaps -- a number he easily cleared -- and another $150,000 for playing in 50 percent.

Wilson finished the season playing 520 of 1,037 Detroit defensive snaps -- math equaling 50.14 percent of Detroit's defensive plays, barely getting him that bonus.

Akeem Spence came to the Detroit Lions this season figuring he might be the No. 3 defensive tackle in the rotation. The Lions had a clear starter in Haloti Ngata and a promising second-year player in A'Shawn Robinson.

Then Ngata suffered a season-ending biceps injury in Week 5 against Carolina and all of a sudden, Spence's role became much more important. He turned into a starter, finishing with 39 tackles and three sacks.

And after Detroit's season ended Sunday, Spence knew for sure he would be cashing in more in 2018. By playing 60.8 percent of the Lions' snaps this season, Spence's base salary for 2018 increased by $750,000 from $2.4 million to $3.15 million.

Wilson and Spence were two of a few Lions who ended up cashing in on bonuses and escalators tied to their contract performance.

Darius Slay's $550,000 escalator for 2018 was already triggered after he intercepted more than five passes this season and made the Pro Bowl.

By playing 45.1 percent of snaps this season, Cornelius Washington earned an extra $100,000. He failed, though, to trigger a $500,000 escalator for his contract in 2018 because he did not play half of Detroit's snaps this year.

Tahir Whitehead played 87.4 percent of snaps this season, earning him an extra $250,000.