Pittsburgh Steelers right tackle Chukwuma Okorafor has qualified for a pay raise in 2021 based on his snap count this season.
Okorafor’s bonus stems from the league’s Proven Performance Escalator, a portion of the CBA that rewards former late-round picks who have reached a particular snap count benchmark considered above their original draft position.
Playing over 35% of the Steelers’ offensive plays over his first three seasons, Okorafor, a former third round selection, has been deemed an overachiever by the CBA’s standards, and is now eligible for the pay raise.
Okorafor started every game this season except for the opener, stepping in for Zach Banner, who was lost for the year to a knee injury in Week 1. He played 94.1% of all offensive snaps during the 2020 season.
Okorafor was scheduled to make $920,000 in 2021. Subtracting that total from the original-round tender for restricted free agents of $2.24 million, Okorafor can now expect a $1.32 million raise next season. Unfortunately for the Steelers, that increase will count against their razor-thin salary cap.
According to Pro Football Focus, Okorafor allowed just three sacks, five quarterback hits and 21 hurries this season.
Okorafor was the only member of the Steelers’ 2018 draft class to qualify for the Proven Performance Escalator, as quarterback Mason Rudolph, wide receiver James Washington, linebacker Marcus Allen and running back Jaylen Samuels all failed to reach the snap count threshold.