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Michael Gallup’s recovery time could change the calculus on a new contract from Cowboys

Michael Gallup’s injury adds another element of uncertainty to his free agency.

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Arizona Cardinals v Dallas Cowboys Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images

Among the Dallas Cowboys multitude of free agents in the 2022 offseason is wide receiver Michael Gallup. He is part of the trio of Gallup, CeeDee Lamb and Amari Cooper that puts the Cowboys in contention for having the best receiving trio in the league. That trio may not be together in the future.

Gallup is a free agent, but he is also recovering from a major injury. He tore his ACL toward the end of the 2021 season and has undergone surgery to repair it. How he recovers from that injury could influence what kind of deal he will get in free agency. If teams around the league feel he could truly contribute to much of the 2022 season in a meaningful way, they may be a little more willing to offer up a multi-year deal that properly reflects his talent. But if 2022 is going to be an issue as he works through his recovery, a one-year “prove-it” deal could be in his future.

We are already hearing optimistic opinions on his future, but they should be taken with a grain of salt.

It’s very hard to believe he will be 100% by August. Even if he is ready to participate in training camp and play when September rolls around, he probably won’t be 100%. Full recovery from an ACL tear, especially at skill positions, seems to take more than just the initial period when a player can get back on the field. It is sometimes said it takes a full season of playing to get back to that level.

Gallup seems to recognize he is in that gray area.

“I hope I did enough here in Dallas over the last four years to get what I deserve,” Gallup told Heavy during a February 9 interview. “I know this past year wasn’t the best for me or anything, but I hope I’ve done enough and put enough on film to where the injury that I just had isn’t going to weigh me down too much. So, that’s what I’m hoping to get out of free agency.”

“I think somebody could give me a long-term deal, and I think if I need to prove it again I’m pretty sure I can do that, too,” Gallup responded when asked if he would consider taking a short-term deal.

Pro Football Focus has projected Gallup as the sixth-best wide receiver free agent in the 2022 class. Here is their prediction for what he will get.

6. MICHAEL GALLUP

PFF Free Agency Rank: 28

2021 Snaps: 497

2021 PFF grade: 73.4 (37th of 118)

Gallup’s contract year got off to a bit of a shaky start, as he sustained an injury in Week 1 that kept him sidelined through Week 9. He put up at least 30 receiving yards in every game from Weeks 10 to 17 but unfortunately suffered a torn ACL late in the season that complicates matters heading into 2022.

Projected contract: 4 yrs — $13.75m avg/yr

It is unlikely the Cowboys could commit to that range of a contract, unless the rumors turn out to be correct about deciding to move on from Amari Cooper. They will also have to pay CeeDee Lamb down the road so that is also a factor here.

Unless the Cowboys move on from Cooper and devote that money to Gallup, they will be unlikely to throw a multi-year deal his way. For Gallup to be back in Dallas, it will probably be on a one-year “prove-it” deal. If Gallup is going to truly be recovered by August, that one-year deal may not be in the cards.