In case you were unaware, free agency in the NFL starts next week. Buckle up.
Odds are that you slightly rolled your eyes at the idea of preparing for a flurry of free agent activity given that we root for the Dallas Cowboys. We are all aware how inactive the Cowboys generally choose to be when it comes to the world of veteran free agents, but for what it’s worth, they do seem to be preparing for something.
How do we know this? On Friday the Cowboys created $30M in salary cap space by restructuring the deals of both Dak Prescott and Zack Martin. This is objectively a good thing, and while the carrot of opportunity dangles in front of us, it is worth mentioning that the Dallas Morning News noted in their report that this is the team creating space to retain their own players. We will see who that ultimately winds up being, perhaps Leighton Vander Esch and/or Donovan Wilson.
There are other ways that the Cowboys can choose to create salary cap space this year and it is worth mentioning another that was suggested amidst this news.
Michael Gallup was included as a possible deal that the Cowboys could restructure
We are all sitting here hoping to see the Cowboys bring in a new wide receiver whether by way of free agency or trade, but it was just a year ago that Dallas handed out a big-time deal to the position when they took care of Michael Gallup.
Gallup was coming off of a torn ACL that happened in January of 2022 and unfortunately his play this past season looked like somebody who was not totally all-the-way back. The hope remains that Gallup will return to his pre-injury form during the 2023 season, and there is something that could happen this offseason that would suggest that the Cowboys highly believe this will be the case.
It was noted by a few members of the local media that Dallas could also consider restructuring Michael Gallup’s deal. 2023 is the final year of guaranteed money on his contract as it currently stands.
The Cowboys can also restructure the contract of WR Michael Gallup and create about $7.8 million in room if they choose. With an $11m base, it's kind of the design of the 5-year deal signed last year. Team believes Gallup will be much-improved 2nd year removed from ACL surgery.— Todd Archer (@toddarcher) March 10, 2023
Salary cap space is certainly valuable but you do not want to create it at a greater cost. Michael Gallup was a great player for the Cowboys before his ACL injury, but there is no guarantee that he returns to that form in 2023 and restructuring him in the here and now would tie the team to him longer.
Things aren’t always completely connected to one another, but you do have to wonder whether a Gallup restructure would be the first domino to fall for the Cowboys in a certain direction this offseason. Say they did wind up doing this, perhaps then they would feel like they didn’t need to address wide receiver (in terms of a serious investment either by way of free agency, trade, or the draft) because of the belief that they themselves were committing to Gallup.
Again, things are not always that obtuse but it seems significant that Gallup’s deal was suggested as a possible restructure by both ESPN and the DMN. Maybe that is the next shoe to drop.