Dallas Cowboys

And the Dallas Cowboys' Most Over-Achieving Player of 2009 is ...

Would you believe the guy who lost the cornerback battle to Pro Bowler Mike Jenkins? That's right, Orlando Scandrick.

According to the NFL's performance-based bonus system, Scandrick was the Cowboys' biggest bang-for-buck player last season. As a 5th-round draft pick who started one game but played primarily on passing downs and special teams, Scandrick had a base salary of $385,000 but earned a bonus of $306,209, 9th-highest in the NFL. Scandrick was also Dallas' highest-paid, lowest-paid (I know, very confusing) player in 2008.

Minnesota Vikings' center John Sullivan received the biggest check, getting $397,555.The league uses a formula based on playing time percentage and a player's salary cap. So the rookie who plays the most to the veteran who plays the least all get a check. For instance, Chicago Bears' middle linebacker Brian Urlacher, who played in only 35 snaps in the team's opener before suffering a season-ending injury, got only $452.

Other Cowboys receiving more than $100,000 included tight end John Phillips, offensive lineman Doug Free and defensive back Alan Ball. No word on whether Roy Williams was forced to give the Cowboys and the NFL a rebate.

Despite being high draft choices, Jenkins and Anthony Spencer also earned bonuses. Which begs the question, who will be the next Cowboy to "make the leap" into a prominent role?

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Richie Whitt
Contact: Richie Whitt