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NFL deems Villanueva's, Cockrell's performances with Steelers worthy of extra cash

| Thursday, March 16, 2017, 12:42 p.m.
Chaz Palla | Tribune-Review
Steelers offensive tackle Alejandro Villanueva plays against the Eagles on Thursday, Aug. 18, 2016, at Heinz Field.

Steelers tackle Alejandro Villanueva and cornerback Ross Cockrell were among the top 25 recipients of the NFL's performances-based pay bonus system that was disclosed Thursday.

Villanueva finished fourth among NFL players by making $401,652.46 in performance-based pay.

He made $317,676.41 in performance-based pay and another $83,976.05 in veteran performance-based pay.

Cockrell ranked 22nd with $352,620.70 in compensation: $270,899.82 in performance pay and $81,720.88 in veteran performance pay.

Villanueva made $525,000 in base salary in 2016 and Cockrell $600,000.

Villanueva remains an exclusive-rights free agent, though the Steelers are trying to sign him to a long-term contract. Cockrell is a restricted free agent with a $1.797 million tender amount for 2017.

According to NFL figures, players will receive $127.84 million in performances-based pay for the 2016 season. The program compensates players based upon their playing time and salary levels and is intended to reward lower-salaried players.

NFL players received more than $1.2 billion since the performances-based pay program was implemented in the 2002 collective bargaining agreement.

Atlanta Falcons safety Ricardo Allen received the most total performance-based pay for 2016, making $429,719.92 in bonuses.

Notes: The Steelers will begin offseason organized team activities (OTAs) May 23 at UPMC Rooney Sports Complex. OTAs will include 10 sessions that will span three weeks, ending June 8. The Steelers have not announced dates for their rookie and veteran minicamps. … Steelers general manager Kevin Colbert and coach Mike Tomlin attended Clemson's pro day Thursday.

Joe Rutter is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach him at jrutter@tribweb.com or via Twitter @tribjoerutter.

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