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Browns LB Christian Kirksey earns performance-based bonus and is in line for contract extension

By Nate Ulrich Published: March 16, 2017

Browns linebacker Christian Kirksey earned a performance-based bonus for his breakout 2016 season, and he's in line to receive a contract extension from the franchise.

On Thursday, the NFL announced Kirksey will receive $84,154.17 from the veteran performance-based compensation pool.

The NFL's performance-based pay program compensates players based on their playing time and salary levels. The NFL Players Association also elected to dedicate $32 million in benefits ($1 million per NFL team) to fund a veteran performance-based compensation pool. According to the league, a combined $159.84 million will be disbursed to players from the pools.

Only six players earned more than Kirksey from the veteran performance-based compensation pool.

Kirksey, 24, became a full-time starter last year, started all 16 games and provided a bright spot on a dismal defense. He finished third in the NFL with 148 tackles and tallied 2.5 sacks and three passes defensed.

Kirksey's base salary last season was $650,000. He's scheduled to make $1.797 million in 2017, the final season of his rookie contract.

But the Browns don't want this year to be Kirksey's last with them and will work to secure him long term with a contract extension.

The organization recently signed left guard Joel Bitonio to a five-year, $51 million contract extension, and it views Kirksey as another valuable piece of its foundation.

The Browns picked Bitonio in the second round and Kirksey in the third round of the 2014 draft.

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