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7 Patriots have contract bonuses tied to making the Pro Bowl

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The Pro Bowl nominations will be announced today – and these seven players will look closely.

NFL: New England Patriots at Tampa Bay Buccaneers Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Today at 8:00 pm ET, the 2018 Pro Bowl rosters will be announced during a special on NFL Network. Players for the exhibition game are determined via a vote from fans, players and coaches that is essentially a glorified popularity contest. Nevertheless, players and fans will take a close look as a) the Pro Bowl is still a prestigious honor and b) contract incentives are oftentimes tied to it.

The New England Patriots, for instance, have seven players with Pro Bowl bonuses in their contracts. According to patscap.com's Miguel Benzan, they are the follows:

OT Nate Solder: $500,000

LB Dont'a Hightower: $500,000

ST Nate Ebner: $500,000

CB Johnson Bademosi: $300,000

LB Shea McClellin: $250,000

ST Matthew Slater: $150,000

P Ryan Allen: $50,000

Of the seven players listed above, not all have realistic chances of making the Pro Bowl: Linebackers Dont'a Hightower and Shea McClellin, for example, have missed most or all of the season due to injury and will not get voted to the game. Special teams ace Nate Ebner, meanwhile, is also a long-shot after he suffered a torn ACL in week 12.

This leaves four players but even their chances do not look good. Nate Solder has bounced back nicely after a slow start to the season but it will likely not be enough to earn him his first Pro Bowl nomination. Ryan Allen has been solid but a) did not stand out all year long and b) generally flies under the radar as a household name.

This leaves core special teamers Matthew Slater and Johnson Bademosi: Slater has been a Pro Bowler the last six years in a row and it would not be a surprise to see him get in this season again despite missing seven games because of injury. Bademosi lacks Slater's big name but has been impressive in the kicking game as well, leading New England with eight tackles.

Ultimately, it appears as if Slater has the best chances to earn a Pro Bowl nomination and by extension the roster bonus tied to it.