Dallas Cowboys: Can WR Michael Gallup bounce back in 2023?

: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports
: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports /

In a pass-happy NFL league, all 32 teams are looking to upgrade their passing games, including the Dallas Cowboys. Having elite wide receivers is just as important as having a franchise quarterback. You need both to compete for championships.

The Cowboys know the importance of having a collection of good wide receivers because not to long ago they boasted one of the best receiving units in the league. The Cowboys had Pro Bowlers Amari Cooper and CeeDee Lamb, along with fringe stars in Michael Gallup and Cedrick Wilson.

And when you added the Cowboys’ two-headed monster of Blake Jarwin and Dalton Schultz to the mix, the offense was the highest scoring in the league and close to unstoppable.

Dallas Cowboys wide receiver Michael Gallup has declined, but can he bounce back to make the Cowboys a fearful offensive juggernaut?

Back in 2019, Gallup caught 66 passes for 1,107 yards, six touchdowns and averaged 16.8 yards a reception. The former third round pick had ascended as true WR2 that complemented Coop, who was a coverage magnet that made life easy for Gallup.

This was good news because Gallup doubled his numbers from his rookie season when he had 33 receptions for 507 yards, two touchdowns, and averaged 15.4 yards a reception. His ability to make difficult/acrobatic catches in clutch situations made him a reliable receiver with the ability to take any pass to pay dirt. Whenever Gallup caught the ball, good things happened.

Despite Dak Prescott going down with a season-ending ankle injury in 2020, Gallup still put up decent numbers with 59 receptions for 843 yards, five touchdowns, and averaged 14.3 yards a reception while playing with three different quarterbacks. This proved Gallup could play with lesser quarterbacks and still produce at a decent level, meaning his potential was treading in a positive direction.

Gallup’s numbers dropped drastically in 2021 (35 receptions, 445 yards, 2 touchdowns, 12.7 yards per reception), and since then, Gallup has slowly declined into a possession receiver who lacks separation.

This wealth of information did not stop Jerry Jones and Stephen Jones from signing Gallup to a lucrative five-year $57 million dollar contract, $10 million signing bonus, with $27 million guaranteed. My Gawd! I will discuss that topic later in this article.

I’m well aware that at the tail end of the 2021 regular season Gallup suffered an ACL injury that negatively impacted his play this past season. Amazingly, Gallup recovered quickly and returned to the starting lineup exactly nine months later (October 2nd) in a victorious game against the Washington Commanders.

Ironically, Gallup scored a touchdown in his debut just like he scored a touchdown when he tore his ACL nine months earlier against the Cardinals.

To say Gallup was a disappointment last season is an understatement because Dallas’ front office really expected Gallup to carry his share of the load with Cooper gone. Trust me, ole Cap Boy Jones ain’t trading Coop and then paying Gallup a ton of money for Gallup not to produce at a premium level.

Although moving on from Coop was to save money, it does not happen if they did not believe in Gallup’s emergence. Which is why I questioned Dallas guaranteeing Gallup $27 million after his numbers declined and his ACL tore. Gallup underperformed so badly that Dallas inquired about trading for Brandin Cooks midseason 2022 to try to improve their offense.

You cannot make this stuff up!

sidenote: It is becoming apparent that Gallup benefited from Coop taking on double teams and was nothing more than a complimentary receiver. In contrast, Lamb by passed Gallup as the better receiver and the offense’s true WR1. Lamb got better each and every game as Dak’s primary receiver, unlike Gallup. Dallas’ front office held the upper hand and could have signed Gallup to a one-year deal or simply let him walk. Now with more time to recuperate from his ACL injury, I have hope that Gallup will have a better 2023 season and produce better numbers because I’d hate to believe his best days are behind him at the young age of 27.

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Next. Reassesing the needs for the Dallas Cowboys, one month out. dark

That is truly a sign of buyer’s remorse. The issue is so bad with Gallup that his lack of separation led to Dak forcing passes into tight windows, contributing to his career high 17 interceptions. Of course, Dak could have made better decisions with the ball but his receiver here did not make things easy on him.

If Gallup was playing even a little better, the Dallas Cowboys do not have to trade a late round pick for Cooks. Dallas would have saved some money and draft capital.

Now that Cooks has been added the Dallas Cowboys receiving corps looks strong once again. Will Gallup continue to decline or will he bounce back?

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