Dallas Cowboys wide receiver Michael Gallup suffered through an injury-riddled fourth NFL season. As a result, the stats suffered, muddying his value ahead of free agency. Coming off a late-season ACL surgery, Gallup might want to settle for a short-term deal in the 2022 free agency period so he doesn’t have to settle and miss out on a massive long-term contract.
Michael Gallup: Free Agency Overview
Like fellow free agent Tampa Bay Buccaneers wideout Chris Godwin, Gallup’s value is likely to take a hit due to his significant season-ending knee injury. But if a team is willing to be patient, they could land an ascending playmaker on a cheap, short-term pact.
Update (March 5): With Amari Cooper expected to be cut, the Cowboys have reportedly made a push to sign Gallup to a new deal.
Recapping Gallup’s 2021 season
Dallas shut Gallup down for the season after tearing his ACL while scoring a touchdown against the Arizona Cardinals in Week 17. Gallup was limited to just nine games (eight starts) last year as he had two separate stints on injured reserve. He injured his calf in Week 1 and wasn’t activated from IR until mid-November. However, once he got back on the field, he surged, collecting 35 catches for 445 yards and 2 touchdowns.
It was a miserable campaign for the 25-year-old wideout, especially after having back-to-back stellar years in Dallas. His 2019 season gave teams a glimpse of what Gallup could do as a featured playmaker, as he caught 66 passes for 1,107 yards and 6 touchdowns. His production dipped in 2020 with the arrival of first-round pick CeeDee Lamb, but he still put up 843 yards and 5 touchdowns on 59 catches.
Gallup’s contract estimate and salary cap implications
Gallup, 25, has made $5.8 million since the Cowboys took him in the third round of the 2018 NFL Draft. Last season, Gallup made a career-high $2.4 million on the final year of his rookie deal. He is in line for a raise, even with his health concerns. Spotrac lists his market value at $11.8 million per season, which would put him into the top 20 of all NFL wide receivers.
The Cowboys will have a tough time retaining Gallup, as Over The Cap projects them to have the third-worst cap situation in the league. According to OTC, the Cowboys are set to be $22.2 million over the projected threshold. With Amari Cooper’s big contract still on the books and Lamb due for an extension after this season, Dallas might need to let Gallup walk.
Possible landing spots for Gallup
Even with his injury history, Gallup should see plenty of interest on the open market. The Atlanta Falcons, Philadelphia Eagles, Jacksonville Jaguars, Chicago Bears, and Las Vegas Raiders should all be looking for veteran upgrades at wide receiver. Gallup should appeal to teams who regularly rotate their wideouts from X to Z to the slot, as he can play all three positions in a rotation.
What they’re saying about Gallup
“I would guess, from his standpoint, [the deal] probably won’t be what it would have been if he didn’t tear his ACL. I’d probably expect a one-year deal for him in a prove-it situation, and then he could hit the market again when he’s healthy.” – Longtime NFL scout to Pro Football Network on Gallup’s free agent outlook