There’s a reason the Dallas Cowboys and other teams in the NFL have attempted to pour more resources into the draft over the last decade in an attempt to unearth talent. When you hit on a player and are able to receive significant contributions from that player on their rookie contract, it makes a huge difference for your team, allowing them to spend to keep their stars.
The Dallas Cowboys have done a pretty good job over the last five years finding talent in the draft despite the lack of production from the 2019 draft class aside from Tony Pollard.
Yesterday, the NFL handed out performance bonuses from the 2019 season and several Cowboys got significant pay increases. The bonuses are based on production relative to your salary for that year. Per Michael Gehlken of the Dallas Morning News, Safety Xavier Woods led the way in the performance bonus.
Top bonuses earned by Cowboys players for 2019 performance-based pay S Xavier Woods: $403,298 WR Michael Gallup: $244,710 CB Chidobe Awuzie: $235,732 S Darian Thompson: $225,869 TE Blake Jarwin: $212,222 CB Jourdan Lewis: $211,014 Woods received a 62.5% bump to his $645K salary
Per Ian Rapoport of NFL Network, Woods’ $403,298 pay bump was fourth in the NFL. Former Dallas Cowboys cornerback and Kansas City Chiefs standout Charvarius Ward led the way with $428,335 after playing a significant role for the Super Bowl Champions.
Woods solidified himself as a legitimate starting safety over the last couple of years and has fought off any talk of the Cowboys upgrading his spot on the defense. Any additions at the safety position would come in the way of a back-end partner or depth behind Woods, a former sixth-round draft choice from the 2017 NFL Draft.
Wide Receiver Michael Gallup was next on the list after experiencing a breakout campaign in his second season. He posted his first 1,000-yard season and averaged more than 15 yards per reception. Heading into his third season, and the future is looking very bright for Gallup as the Cowboys number two wide receiver.
It’s significant to note that Chidobe Awuzie, Blake Jarwin, and Jourdan Lewis received significant performance bonuses from their play last season as all three will be looked to in a more significant way in 2020. Awuzie becomes the Cowboys’ longest-tenured cornerback with the impending departure of Byron Jones and possibly Anthony Brown and Lewis may have just inherited a starting role in base and nickel situations. Blake Jarwin, who was far more productive in limited snaps than starter Jason Witten last year looks to be the presumed starter for 2020 after the Cowboys placed a second-round tender on the Cowboys’ restricted free agent.
While these bonuses signify quality play from these players on their rookie deals last season, they can also be seen as a positive sign of what’s to come in 2020 as well. Woods, Awuzie, Lewis, Jones, and Jarwin could all start for this team when they open the 2020 season in September. Despite the potential departures, the Cowboys are facing in free agency, the future continues to look bright with this young group of players.