A congenital neck/spine injury ended inside linebacker Zachary Orr's career far too early, but he leaves with a boost to his financial situation.
Orr is walking away from the game with an extra $407,000 in performance-based pay from last season. His portion of the NFL's veteran pool is $89,000,* *which is included in that total.
Orr is the Ravens' top earner from 2016, and one of the NFL's highest non-rookie earners.
The league's "Performance-Based Pay" program supplements players' compensation* *based on a comparison of playing time to salary. That essentially means players who make the least get rewarded for playing a lot.
Orr started 15 games last season and played 961 defensive snaps, which was the third most on the team, per Pro Football Focus. That doesn't include his special teams contributions.
Last year was Orr's last on his undrafted rookie contract of three years, $1.5 million, per Spotrac. He made $600,000 in salary last season, so the $407K is no small matter.
"It's definitely nice to wake up and have my agent call me and let me know that's what I got," Orr said. "I knew it was going to be a good amount. I just didn't know how much. But it's especially nice knowing it's the last nice little check that I get from the league."
Performance-based pay does not factor into a team's salary cap.
Orr, 24, was scheduled to be a restricted free agent in 2017, and would have likely received a high tender from the Ravens based on his standout play last season.
The North Texas product recorded a team-leading 132 tackles, three interceptions and one forced fumble last season. He finished tied for eighth in the NFL in tackles.
Now Orr is still looking for his next step. He said he's currently rehabbing from shoulder surgery and is nearly 100 percent healed from that. He said he's been working on his foundation, and has been looking at options to work in or around Baltimore, as well as in his home state of Texas.
"I've been talking about the possibility of coming back up to Baltimore," Orr said, though he didn't know in what respect. "That's definitely a possibility. I can't even tell you for sure what the next step is going to be."
One of Orr's younger brothers, Chris, changed his number from 50 to 54 in honor of Zachary. Chris is an inside linebacker at the University of Wisconsin.