Cowboys Pushed to Trade Star WR to Pay Dak Prescott

Dak Prescott

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With a glut of pass-catchers, a dearth of salary-cap funds, and a free-agent quarterback reportedly seeking $40 million annually, the Dallas Cowboys should “entertain” the idea of trading wide receiver Michael Gallup, opined CBS Sports NFL insider Jason La Canfora.

“Does Michael Gallup have a real future in Dallas given all of the moves they have made at receiver in terms of trades, draft picks and contract extensions?” La Canfora asked in a recent article projecting NFL trade candidates.

La Canfora appeared on 105.3 The Fan on Tuesday to double down on Gallup, who’s entering the final year of his rookie contract.

“I think they should entertain [a trade],” he said on Shan & RJ. “CeeDee Lamb is gonna be a guy [entering] year two. After year three, if he’s who they drafted him to be, then you’ve got that situation. Could you trade Amari Cooper? Sure, but you just paid him. Contractually, it’s a different situation than if you traded the younger guy, a guy who’s still a bargain right now.

“I don’t see them having a $40-plus million quarterback and three wideouts making legit, big-time NFL money. Could they try to kick that can for another year? They could, but, boy, that defense still needs a lot of help. That offensive line all of a sudden is kind of long in the tooth and went from something you didn’t have to worry about to something you better be worried about. It’s about asset allocation. … You only have so many draft picks and the cap ain’t gonna be what anybody thought it was gonna be two years ago.

“It’s suboptimal, and you’re in a suboptimal situation with your quarterback. And once you’re paying him $40 million a year, you probably shouldn’t have to have three highly-compensated wide receivers all on their second or third contract.”

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Exploring The Hypotheticals

The 2018 second-round choice was rumored as a potential trade target prior to last season’s deadline; Dallas quickly shut down the speculation. “If they were to deal a top receiver, he wouldn’t be the logical choice,” a team source told Michael Gehlken of the Dallas Morning News in October.

Gallup fell short of lofty expectations following a 2019 breakout in which he produced 1,107 yards and six touchdowns on 66 catches (113 targets), a fixture in the Cowboys’ top-ranked passing attack. Gallup finished 2020 with 59 receptions for 843 yards and five TDs.

But the brain trust, Gehlken reported at the time, owed his sagging stat lines to the loss of franchise quarterback Dak Prescott and the presence of Cooper (92/1,114/5) and Lamb (74/935/5).

It’s unlikely the Cowboys break up the Big Three they assembled less than a calendar year ago. But crazier things have happened in this business and the franchise does need to clear room for Prescott’s multi-year extension or $37.7 million franchise tag.

If Gallup were traded, the Cowboys would save $2.43 million while eating $222,495 in dead money. If Gallup were retained for 2021, his age-25 campaign, he would count $2,655,495 against the cap.

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Dak Won’t Hit Free Agency

Despite ongoing contract talks that still appear far from a resolution, there is “no chance” Prescott shops his wares when unrestricted free agency officially opens March 17, NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport reported Tuesday.

“He’ll get franchise-tagged again or he’ll do a deal. Or he’ll do a deal in July which makes some sense,” Rapoport said on the Pat McAfee Show, referring to the July 15 deadline for tagged players to ink long-term deals.

Piggy-backing off hearsay that Dak wants annual money in the ballpark of Patrick Mahomes, Rapoport indicated the two-time Pro Bowler is within his right to request a market-value pact.

“The quarterback market is interesting because you have the Mahomes deal which is so long; it averages 45 [million] a year but it’s not really that. It’s really 40 million over the first five years, 50 million over the next five,” he said. “[Texans QB] Deshaun [Watson] is at 39. To me, if Dak Prescott’s looking at this, he should be saying, ‘I should be about there.'”

READ NEXT: Cowboys Insider Raises New Issue in Dak Prescott Contract Negotiations

Follow Zack Kelberman on Twitter: @KelbermanNFL

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