Recently Suspended Cowboys WR Named ‘Most Interesting’ Michael Gallup Replacement

Cowboys WR Martavis Bryant last played for the Raiders in 2018.

Getty Cowboys WR Martavis Bryant last played for the Raiders in 2018.

The Cowboys made the unsurprising move of axing wide receiver Michael Gallup last week, designating him as a post-June 1 cut, which will save them $9.5 million off the books, once we pass that date. In the meantime, the Cowboys remain cap-strapped and surprisingly nonchalant about the lack of improvements being made to the team.

Replacing Gallup should be one of the big issues with which the team is wrestling. There were not many receivers on the market in free agency, and the Cowboys made no reported overtures to any of them. But the Cowboys need a third receiver behind CeeDee Lamb and Brandin Cooks, and it appears unlikely they’re going to get one in free agency.

They could address the spot in the draft. But they have a heap of needs that will require attention in the draft. Instead, it is more likely that the Cowboys will gamble on the players they already have in-house to address the No. 3 spot.

While former third-round pick Jalen Tolbert is the obvious candidate, USA Today’s Cowboys Wire site brought up another name that could be an unexpected factor: Martavis Bryant, the former Steelers star who was, until recently, serving a five-year NFL suspension because of substance abuse.

Martavis Bryant ‘The Most Interesting Option’

Here’s what Ben Grimaldi of Cowboys Wire wrote of Bryant: “The most interesting option the Cowboys have is a veteran WR who was once one of the rising stars at the position. Bryant was a fourth-round pick who got off to a quick start in his career before fading because of suspensions due to violating the league’s substance abuse policy on numerous occasions. …

“Bryant hasn’t played in the NFL since 2018, but in 44 games, he does have 18 total scores. When he is on his game, Bryant has the size, speed, and athletic ability to be a game-breaker. At 6-foot-4, Bryant has the reach to bring down jump balls and could be a viable red zone threat to help improve some of the issues the offense had in that area in 2023.”

What a comeback story that would be. Bryant went to the Steelers out of Clemson in 2014, and made an impact as a rookie in Pittsburgh, scoring eight touchdowns on just 26 catches and averaging 21.1 yards per catch.

But Bryant was repeatedly suspended for substance abuse violations, which included suspensions that stretched for the entire 2016 season. Tired of his unreliability, the Steelers eventually traded Bryant to the Raiders and shortly after that, in December 2018, he was finally hit with the indefinite suspension by NFL commissioner Roger Goodell.

He was re-instated by the NFL and signed by Dallas in November. He made an impression—the team brought him back on a futures contract in January.

Cowboys Have Low Bar for Replacing Michael Gallup

If Bryant is anything close to what he was when we last saw him on an NFL field, he could still serve as a weapon. Replacing Gallup won’t be difficult in terms of production—he had 34 catches and 418 yards on the season—and given Bryant’s speed, size and acumen, he could bring a possession element to the offense that the team has been lacking.

He is 32, though. It might be asking a lot to have him take over for Gallup. But Bryant, speaking after he was signed by the Cowboys in November, said that the time away has preserved his body and increased his hunger.

“Sky’s the limit for me, man,” Bryant said. “I know I’m (32) but, still fast, still big, still want to play football. I haven’t lost anything, you know? More of a proving point to me, I got a lot of doubters out there, it’s more me proving to myself that I still got it.”




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