Michael Gallup is entering his fourth season with the Dallas Cowboys. He’s not expected to see a sixth.
The Athletic’s Jon Machota predicted in his latest mailbag that the veteran wide receiver — entering a contract year — is “unlikely” to return in 2022, due largely to Gallup’s future free-agent value and, consequently, the cap-strapped club prioritizing $100 million alpha dog Amari Cooper and fast-rising star CeeDee Lamb.
“I’d say it’s unlikely that he’s on the Cowboys next season,” Machota wrote Friday. “There’s just not enough salary cap space to pay Amari Cooper, CeeDee Lamb and Gallup all at the top of the wide receiver market. Now, if Gallup is willing to take some type of team-friendly deal, sure, he could be back. There’s also a scenario where Cooper deals with a bunch of injuries or takes a step back and they move on from him and end up paying Gallup. But coming off the season Cooper just had, that doesn’t appear to be a great bet. Lamb is 100 percent not going anywhere. They will do whatever they have to keep him around well beyond his rookie contract. So if Gallup has a big year, which many of us expect, there will be teams looking to give him big money next March on the open market. And I think it would be tough for anyone to pass that up.”
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Gallup Would ‘Love’ to Remain in Dallas
Whispers surrounding Gallup’s tenuous future with the Cowboys began last season, right around the time that Cooper — who finished 2020 as the team’s leading receiver — and Lamb — who exploded onto the scene as a rookie — nearly made Gallup obsolete in a Dak Prescott-less offense.
Dallas nevertheless opted to retain the former third-round pick despite its glut of offensive firepower. Gallup responded in kind earlier this month, expressing to Machota his desire to “stay” alongside Cooper, Lamb, and company.
“I would love to stay here,” he said. “I hope I get to stay here. But I can’t control that. All I can control is what I can do on the field. It’s just go out there and make plays.”
“I got my boys here in Dallas,” Gallup added. “I’ve been here in Dallas. I know the ropes down here in Dallas. Dallas is a great area to be. The fans are great. The owners are great. The team is great. The coaches are great. I would love to stay down here.”
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Gallup Eyeing Free Agency
The 2022 WR market boasts a plethora of marquee names coming off one-year prove-it deals. There’s Davante Adams, the top player among the entire lot. Then there’s Gallup, who isn’t far behind.
With 2,457 yards and 13 receiving touchdowns on 158 career receptions, Gallup has established himself as a borderline WR1 or elite WR2 at the NFL level. And given today’s nature of the beast, there will be several teams content to overpay for his services — an unignorable prospect even now.
“You’re obviously going to think about it [his contract] but you can’t really do anything about it but go out on the field and do what you’re supposed to do,” Gallup said earlier this month on NFL Network’s Good Morning Football. “You’re not going to get that contract if you don’t do what you’re supposed to do on the field first. That’s one thing to think about. You can’t really talk anything into the future. You just got to do what you’re supposed to do right now. So, for me, it’s going out there [and] helping this club win ballgames, have fun doing it. Obviously, I’d love to stay here. Love to be in Dallas. Love the community, love the city, love the fans. It’s up in the air, but I want to be right here. So, we’ll see.”
Follow Zack Kelberman on Twitter: @KelbermanNFL