Re: Big Ben's bonuses and the cap....
The bonuses I always hear about are based on seasonal accomplishments, i.e. getting team to playoffs, getting to Superbowl, leading league in categories, 1000 yards rushing/receiving, # of TDs, etc.. That's not tied to normal payroll.
The salary cap is based entirely on payroll. All signing bonuses, incentives, everything is just that--- however much the team can afford.