The Dallas Cowboys could be looking for a new role for wide receiver Michael Gallup.
As the Cowboys continue to go through offseason activities, one of the more notable storylines is the use of Gallup in a new role. Gallup — who has largely been used as an outside receiver since his arrival in Dallas in 2018 — is being used in the slot to expand his route tree.
It’s a new wrinkle being used by head coach Mike McCarthy as he takes over more control over the offense following the departure of former offensive coordinator Kellen Moore.
“While Prescott’s role goes without saying, McCarthy shared a surprising wrinkle for one of the quarterback’s top pass-catchers,” writes Trotta. “According to the head coach, Michael Gallup is getting more opportunities in the slot as the Cowboys strive to expand his route tree.”
Michael Gallup Turned in Disappointing 2022 Season
Gallup is coming off of a down season following his return from an ACL injury suffered at the 2021 season. After posting 35 receptions for 445 receiving yards in just nine games during the 2021 season, he posted just 39 receptions for 424 receiving yards in 14 games and 11 starts last season.
Suffice to say, Gallup extremely underwhelmed in his role as a No. 2 receiver following the offseason departure of former Pro Bowler Amari Cooper.
McCarthy explains why Dallas is giving Gallup more of an opportunity on the inside.
“[Michael Gallup] looks good,” said McCarthy. “This is really the first time that he’s had a full offseason program. It’s very important. … Giving him some more opportunities inside and expanding his [route tree].”
Michael Gallup May Play Slot Receiver With Brandin Cooks on the Outside
Gallup’s potential move to the slot is surprising because he’s barely played from that stance over the course of his five-year career. Gallup played 409 snaps on the outside compared to just 35 in the slot during the 2022 season, according to Pro Football Focus. Meanwhile, he’s played 2,226 snaps on the outside compared to 232 snaps on the inside for his career.
The new wrinkle on offense involving Gallup comes shortly after the Cowboys acquired Brandin Cooks in an offseason trade. Cooks figures to play more of the No. 2 role opposite of CeeDee Lamb considering he’s a more dynamic receiver. Over the course of his nine seasons, Cooks has posted six 1,000-yard seasons.
While Cooks’ frame (5-foot-10, 183 pounds) compared to Gallup’s (6-foot-1, 198 pounds) would seem to indicate the former is more suited in a slot role, Cooks has mainly played the outside role throughout his career. According to PFF, Cooks played 337 of his snaps on the outside (74.9%) and 111 snaps on the inside (24.7%) last season. For his career, Cooks has played 70.2% of his snaps on the outside compared to 29.4% of his snaps on the inside.
As Jon Machota of The Athletic notes, Gallup revealed he lost some confidence following his knee injury last year.
“Cowboys WR Michael Gallup said he’s ‘very confident’ this year he’ll be the player he was before his knee injury. ‘It just feels different. I’m smiling every time I walk in that facility.’ There was a loss of confidence last year. ‘I was thinking too much, my knee was sore.'”
It looks like the Cowboys will give Gallup an expanded role in order to maximize his production following a difficult 2022 season.