One of the underrated draft classes for the Dallas Cowboys in recent memory happened to be found from within their own building. The 2018 NFL Draft was held at AT&T Stadium and in it the Cowboys found what we all thought would be a star linebacker of the future in Leighton Vander Esch with their first-round pick.
Ultimately the jury is still out on LVE, but picks that came after him deserve some pomp and circumstance, too. Dallas took Connor Williams and Michael Gallup (don’t forget Dalton Schultz) following the Vander Esch selection and both have turned into quality starters for them entering their contract years.
These young players have all played a lot early on in their careers which means one important thing - pay increases!
Three 2018 Dallas Cowboys draft picks earned increases to their 2021 base salaries
Putting in a lot of work for young players can lead to pay increases if they play over a certain percentage of snaps, and that is the case for three Dallas Cowboys draft picks from a few years ago. Needless to say, they have earned it.
According to ESPN’s Todd Archer, there are three Cowboys players from the 2018 class that have earned pay increases to their 2018 base salaries: Connor Williams, Michael Gallup, and Dalton Schultz.
2018 draft picks Connor Williams (second round), Michael Gallup (third) and Dalton Schultz (fourth) earned increases to their 2021 base salaries under Proven Performance Escalator program based on playing time in their first three seasons. Williams and Gallup will make $2.433 million this season, according to the NFLPA web site, up from $1.33 million and $920,000 respectively. Schultz, who played in 84.8% of the snaps last season, will make $2.183 million, up from $920,000.
Williams has been relied on as a starter at left guard since the first game of his rookie season. In fact, Williams was the only Dallas Cowboys offensive lineman to start all 16 games for the team last year. He hasn’t reached the level that other offensive linemen (notably Tyron Smith, Travis Frederick, and Zack Martin) have for the organization, but that bar was set pretty high. He has been a quality starter.
Michael Gallup is obviously the biggest name to rise out of the entire draft class for the team as he is one of the more dynamic wide receivers in the NFL. Interestingly Gallup (who is in a contract year like these other players as well) seems to be the shiniest trade piece that the Cowboys have at the moment if they want to explore that avenue of roster building, but of course he is very special and adds an extra element to the offense.
Dalton Schultz had a lot of hype surrounding him upon initially being drafted as Jason Witten had retired just days before his selection (the first Witten retirement). Blake Jarwin seemed like the actual heir apparent at the tight end position (before Witten returned in 2019), but with him getting hurt in Week 1 this past season Schultz stepped up and showed that he is a promising player as well.