Bonuses — also known as "variable pay," "pay for performance," or "performance incentives" in the compensation world — are usually framed as rewards for stellar work or contributions toward employer success. Hit your traffic goals for the year? Here's your bonus. Sell enough widgets? Here's your bonus. Reduce website loading speed by X percent? Nice work. Here's your bonus.
For most of us, our bonus, if we receive one, is not tied to our physical attributes.
But Eddie Lacy, the newest running back on the Seattle Seahawks professional football team, is a notable exception.
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Pay to weigh
Lacy was a breakout star for the Green Bay Packers in his first two seasons, but he arrived for training camp overweight and out of shape in 2015, issues that contributed to a subpar season. Last week he was signed to a one-year deal by the running-back-needy Seahawks, news that elicited a degree of excitement in Seattle. But reports soon revealed his weight had again jumped this past off-season, this time by almost 40 pounds! According to ESPN, Lacy went from the 231 pounds he weighed in college to a reported weight of nearly 270 pounds when he visited the Seahawks.
Now, few of us can claim we now weigh what we did in college. But for a professional athlete, particularly one who relies on speed to do his job and has a history of weight issues, gaining nearly 40 pounds in the small part of the year you're not training and playing football can cause a certain amount of concern among your fans, coaches and the people writing your checks.
That's why the Seahawks included a weight clause in Lacy's contract, which will pay him $55,000 on seven separate occasions every time he hits a specific benchmark. (By way of comparison, according to PayScale's data, the median income for United States' workers is $49,700 … annually.)