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 2016 NFL Draft. The players on the Cleveland Browns who would have been eligible for the escalator are: DE Carl Nassib, OT Shon Coleman, QB Cody Kessler, LB Joe Schobert, WR Ricardo Louis, S Derrick Kindred, TE Seth DeValve, WR Jordan Payton, OT Spencer Drango, WR Rashard Higgins, CB Trey Caldwell, and LB Scooby Wright. The only players who are still on the team are Schobert, Louis, Kindred, DeValve, and Higgins — but Higgins doesn’t count because he was not on his original rookie contract after having been cut once.
Let’s look at the players who got it: Schobert and Kindred.
Joe Schobert - 4th Round Pick in 2016
Derrick Kindred - 5th Round Pick in 2016
Regardless of what Schobert or Kindred did in 2018, we knew they would earn the PPE because. Why? Even if Schobert had missed every snap last season, his big playing time in 2017 meant that his three-year total was at least going to come to 60% of the snaps. For Kindred, he played in 35% or more of the snaps in each of his first two seasons, automatically qualifying him.
Schobert’s and Kindred’s base salaries for 2019 were originally set to be $720,200 each. The NFLPA database now lists their 2019 base salary as $2,025,000, an increase of $1.31 million per player. Over The Cap agrees with our assessment for this year’s PPEs.
Players Who Didn’t Get It
The candidates who didn’t attain the escalator were Louis and DeValve. Louis played in 30.7% of the snaps in 2016, and 53.5% of the snaps in 2017. He basically needed to play 35% of the snaps in 2018 to qualify, but suffered a season-ending neck injury before the year started.
DeValve played in 9.1% of the snaps in 2016, then saw an uptick in 2017 with 49.7% of the snaps. However, he was de-valued in 2018, and only played in 9% of the snaps for an overall three-year total of 22.66%.
Looking Into the Future
Looking forward to next year DT Larry Ogunjobi is the only remaining candidate who can receive the PPE. Odds are, he will receive the PPE, based on his three-year average. Even if he didn’t play a single snap in 2019, his three-year snap average would be about 35.7%.