Here’s Why Dak, Maliek, and A.B. Are Getting Big Pay Raises in 2019

by | Feb 15, 2019 | Articles, The League, The Team

The NFL’s Collective Bargaining Agreement is hard to read and full of legalese. But there are also some cool clauses and performance bonuses that can result in big pay raises for young players that unexpectedly become big contributors to their teams. Thanks to the CBA’s Proven Performance Escalator, three Cowboys are getting big pay raises this season: QB Dak Prescott, DT Maliek Collins, and CB Anthony Brown.

Jae C. Hong via AP

Dak, Maliek and A.B. are entering their fourth seasons. But instead of earning the four-year minimum base salaries of $720,000 this coming season, they are each getting pay increases and will earn $2.045 million in salary in 2019 thanks to the Performance Escalator Bonus.

The Proven Performance Escalator calls for players drafted in rounds 3-through-7 to receive a pay raise if that player took part in 35% or more of his team’s offensive or defensive snaps in two of his first three seasons, or averaged 35%-or-more playing time cumulatively over those three seasons.

If the player reaches the playing percentage, his base salary for the fourth year of his rookie contract is raised to the level of that season’s lowest restricted free agent tender.

Why does the NFL have this kind of clause in its Collective Bargaining Agreement? It’s to reward young players who are on the lower end of the pay scale with a big pay raise if they play a lot of snaps.

Maliek Collins was drafted in Round 3 of the 2016 NFL Draft. Dak was a 4th round pick, Anthony Brown was a 6th rounder.  Each of the three are key contributors to the team. Maliek is a starting defensive tackle, Dak emerged as the star quarterback and face of the franchise, and Anthony Brown is the nickel cornerback.

Two other young Cowboys stars that were part of the 2017 Cowboys Draft Class — Ezekiel Elliott and Jaylon Smith – were not eligible for the Proven Performance Escalator because they were drafted in the 1st and 2nd rounds, respectively. Undrafted free agents and kickers/punts are also ineligible.

Four other players selected by the Cowboys in Rounds 3-through-7 of the 2016 Draft did not qualify for the pay raise: DE Charles Tapper (4th round, 34 spots ahead of Prescott), S Kavon Frazier (6th round), RB Darius Jackson (6th round), and TE Rico Gathers (6th round).

The Proven Performance Escalator applies to all players on every NFL team.  Entering the 2019 season, only 46 NFL players reached the escalator.

Here’s the full list, listed alphabetically by team:

Bears: RB Jordan Howards, LB Nick Kwiatkoski

Bengals: LB Nick Vigil

Broncos: OL Connor McGovern, S Will Parks, S Justin Simmons

Browns: S Derrick Kindred, LB Joe Schobert

Bucs: OL Caleb Benenoch, DE Carl Nassib, DB Ryan Smith

Chargers: LB Jatavis Brown

Chiefs: CB Kendall Fuller, WR/PR Tyreek Hill, S Eric Murray, WR Demarcus Robinson

Colts: QB Jacoby Brissett, OT Joe Haeg

Cowboys: DT Maliek Collins, QB Dak Prescott, CB Anthony Brown

Dolphins: RB Kenyan Drake

Eagles: CB Jalen Mills, OL Halapoulivaati Vaitai

Falcons: LB DeVondre Campbell, TE Austin Hooper, OL Wes Schweitzer

Jags: DE Yannick Ngakoue

Jets: LB Jordan Jenkins, DB Rashard Robinson, OL Brandon Shell

Lions: OL Graham Glasgow

Packers: LB Kyler Fackrell, DL Dean Lowry, LB Blake Martinez, LB Antonio Morrison

Patriots: OL Joe Thuney, LB Elandon Roberts

Rams: OL Austin Blythe, TE Tyler Higbee

Ravens: DL Matt Judon, OL Alex Lewis, DB Tavon Young

Saints: DL David Onyemata

Steelers: DL Javon Hargrave

Texans: DL D.J. Reader

Titans: S Kevin Byard, WR Tajae Sharpe