The Atlanta Falcons had a host of players step up in Sunday’s crucial 27-7 victory over the Dallas Cowboys at Mercedes-Benz Stadium, but one man was on a completely different level.
Defensive end Adrian Clayborn sacked Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott an incredible six times and forced two fumbles, one of which he recovered himself. In all, the Falcons sacked Prescott eight times, showing off a defense that has been molded by head coach Dan Quinn to be fast and physical, especially against the pass.
Clayborn’s incredible performance netted him a huge bonus, according to ESPN’s Adam Schefter. Entering the ninth game of the 16-game regular season, Clayborn had two sacks for the year but knew his contract included a $750,000 bonus if he could get to eight sacks.
As few could have predicted, my dude got there in a single game.
By my math, Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan makes approximately $1.3 million per regular-season game as the highest-paid player on the franchise. If you add Clayborn’s $437,500-per-game salary to the $750,000 bonus, the pass rusher nearly outearned his quarterback, making almost $1.2 million in one memorable evening.
He certainly deserved every dime for a six-sack performance that has only been bested by one player – Hall of Famer Derrick Thomas, who collected seven sacks on Nov. 11, 1990 – since sacks became an official stat in 1982.
The best news for Clayborn is he might not be done getting paid bonus money. NFL.com’s Ian Rapoport said Clayborn stands to make another $500,000 if he can get two more sacks this year; four more would pay out a total of $2 million for his hard work this season.
And if Clayborn and the rest of the Atlanta defense can keep playing like they did Sunday, those playoff bonuses aren’t skimpy, either.Follow @Sean_Breslin