First, let's explain what we mean by "proven performance escalator (PPE)." It applies to players selected anywhere between rounds 3-7 of the NFL Draft who have met one of the following criteria:
- played in 35% of the snaps in two of his first three seasons
- posted a cumulative average of 35% of snaps in his first three seasons
Since the criteria waits three years, that means we have to look back at players from the 2014 NFL Draft. The players on the Cleveland Browns who would have been eligible for the escalator are: ILB Christian Kirksey, RB Terrance West, and CB Pierre Desir. The only player who is still on the team is Kirksey.
Christian Kirksey - 3rd Round Pick in 2014
Regardless of what Kirksey did in 2016, we knew he would earn the PPE because he played in 35% or more of the snaps in 2014 and 2015.
Kirksey’s base salary for 2017 was originally set to be $765,500. The NFLPA database now lists his 2017 base salary as
$1,838,000, an increase of $1,072,500 million. Over The Cap agrees with our assessment for this year's PPEs.
UPDATE (3/15): The NFLPA now lists his 2017 base salary as $1,797,000, which is an increase of $1,031,500 million.
Looking forward to next year, two players are on pace to reach the PPE: DL Xavier Cooper and RB Duke Johnson. Johnson is already guaranteed, as he’s gone over 35% in each of his first two years. Cooper was over 35% in 2016, but was just a hair below that in 2015. If he is around 34% or so in 2017, then his three-year average should still get him over the cumulative 35% threshold.