The Dallas Cowboys made a bold decision two years ago. They decided to move on from wide receiver Amari Cooper. Parting ways with him was shocking enough, but the fact that the Cowboys signed Michael Gallup to a five-year extension worth $62.5 million after he suffered a torn ACL just months before that, and missed seven games in 2021 with a calf issue, made it even more surprising.
Once the ink was on the contract, it was time for the Cowboys to ride with CeeDee Lamb and Gallup as the new one-two punch in the passing game. The former has turned into a multiple-time All-Pro and is regarded as one of the best players at his position league-wide. However, Gallup hasn’t had nearly the same amount of success as his 2022 campaign made it clear that nine months wasn’t enough time for him to fully recover. The lack of explosiveness from Gallup was extremely noticeable, and he admitted that he wasn’t over the mental hurdle of his ACL injury.
Gallup ended up with 424 yards and averaged 10.9 yards perception, setting career lows in both categories. This season was supposed to be Gallup’s comeback tour, but that train ran right off the tracks. Gallup played in all 17 games, but he set a new career low in receiving yards with 418, which ranked fourth on the team. Also, his two touchdowns tied his worst showing since entering the professional ranks.
So, what do the Cowboys do from here with Gallup?
Dallas is known for being loyal to players they invest draft picks in, and Gallup has shown from time to time that he can make a big play. That’s all fine and dandy, but Gallup isn’t even a top-three option in the Cowboys passing game right now, and with Brandin Cooks back in 2024 and the emergence of tight end Jake Ferguson it doesn’t look like that will change anytime soon. So, the Cowboys would be well within their rights to part ways with Gallup at this point. The production just isn’t there with three consecutive seasons under 500 yards and less than 40 receptions.
The Cowboys could gain some cap relief by releasing Gallup as a post-June 1 cut, but of course wouldn’t see that money until then. They still have around $13 million in guaranteed money to Gallup through the rest of his contract.
The smart thing for the Cowboys to do would be to move on from Gallup and give guys like Jalen Tolbert and rookie Jalen Brooks more opportunities. There’s a good crop of receivers in the NFL draft this year that the Cowboys could get as well, and there’s a guy by the name of Mike Evans who’s a free agent this offseason. The Cowboys simply need another boost at the position that Gallup hasn’t given them for quite some time.
The promise was there when it came to Gallup’s trajectory as a receiver after his 1,100-yard showing in his second season in 2019, and he followed it up with almost 900 yards a year later playing with Cooper and Lamb. That seems like a lifetime ago at this point, and the Cowboys aren’t getting a return on their investment which has created an interesting dilemma when it comes to Gallup’s future in Dallas, and the could very well end up with both sides going in different directions.