Today we continue taking a look at the Dallas Cowboys’ upcoming free agents. Our fourth profile features wideout Michael Gallup. Coming off a torn ACL, will the receiver look to sign a short-term deal to stay in Dallas?
Player: Michael Gallup
Age: 25 (26 in March)
2021 Stats: 9 G, 35 receptions, 445 yards, 12.7 Y/R, 56.5% Catch%, 2 TDs
2021 Review: Expectations were high for Michael Gallup coming into the 2021 season. Even without Dak Prescott for most of the 2020 campaign, Gallup still was able to produce, recording 59 catches for 843 yards and scoring five touchdowns. The former third-round pick was looking to build on his success and set himself up for a big payday in free agency, but unfortunately for Gallup and the Cowboys, injuries got in the way.
The 25-year-old suffered a calf injury in Week 1 against the Buccanneers, which forced him to miss the next seven games. During Gallup’s seven-game absence, the Cowboys went 6-1, and their offense scored 30 points per game. Gallup played in the next eight games, posting some decent production, but we never saw the version of the wideout we saw in 2019 or 2020. One thing that really hindered Gallup’s success was the Cowboys’ inability to convert deep shots down the field. The wideout is one of the best deep-ball receivers in the game, but the Cowboys were simply unable to give him opportunities to make plays.
The season ended about as poorly as it could have for the free-agent-to-be as he suffered a torn ACL in Week 17 against the Arizona Cardinals. Thankfully for Gallup, there is optimism he will be ready for the start of the 2022 season.
After strides in past month, Cowboys WR Michael Gallup is scheduled to undergo surgery on torn ACL next Thursday with head team physician Dr. Dan Cooper, source said. There is optimism he'll be ready for start of the 2022 season. https://t.co/0MxtdOOWyz— Michael Gehlken (@GehlkenNFL) February 2, 2022
Free Agency Outlook: Before the 2021 season you could have made a solid argument that Gallup was in position to be the third-best free agent receiver in the 2022 class, behind only Davante Adams and Chris Godwin. Now, after an injury-plagued, average-production season, the fifth-year wideout is in a difficult spot.
Spotrac projects Gallup’s market value at a four-year, $47,482,684M deal, an average salary of $11.8M a year. With the free agent talent at wide receiver in this year’s class, it’s hard to see a team committing to Gallup on a long-term deal worth that much money. The Athletic released their free agent rankings earlier this week and mentioned how Gallup could be looking for a one-year deal similar to what Will Fuller received last offseason.
Gallup suffered through injuries in 2021, including a torn ACL in Week 17. He appeared in only nine games and had 35 catches for 445 yards. But from 2019 to 2020, Gallup’s 1,950 yards ranked 22nd among wide receivers, and his 15.6 YPR average ranked fourth among players with at least 100 catches during that span. Gallup projects as a field-stretching, outside starting wide receiver. Given that he’s coming off of a late-season injury, it’s tough to know how much interest Gallup will generate. Will Fuller got a one-year, $10.6 million deal last offseason. A similar deal could be in play for Gallup.
Cowboys Fit: With both Cedrick Wilson and Dalton Schultz potentially departing in free agency, the Cowboys could really benefit from retaining Gallup for one more season. The decision on whether or not the Cowboys are able to work out a short-term, bounce-back deal with Gallup to return to Dallas may come down to what they ultimately do with Amari Cooper.
If Dallas parts ways with Cooper, you almost certainly have to believe they would retain Gallup with some of the money saved. Coming off such a tough injury, it seems unlikely Gallup will get anything more than a one-year deal in free agency. If he’s going to take a chance to regain his value somewhere, Dallas seems like a great spot to do so.
Final Verdict: As great as it would be to have Michael Gallup back in Dallas next season, I don’t see the Cowboys choosing him over Amari Cooper. The wideout does sign a one-year, bounce-back deal, but not in Dallas.
Prediction: Michael Gallup signs a one-year deal with the Indianapolis Colts.