Amari Cooper’s Absence Opens the Door for Another Cowboys Player to Audition for a New Team: ‘Got Something to Prove’

The Dallas Cowboys prepared all week for a highly-anticipated showdown with the Kansas City Chiefs in Week 11. However, they had to do so without star wide receiver Amari Cooper. Without Cooper in the lineup, the Cowboys will rely on Michael Gallup to step up in a major way.

Gallup’s future in Dallas is up in the air, so a monster performance can help him get paid.

The Cowboys will miss Amari Cooper against the Chiefs

The explosive Dallas Cowboys’ offense suffered a significant setback ahead of the Chiefs game, with Amari Cooper testing positive for coronavirus (COVID-19).

As a result, the team placed Cooper on the reserve/COVID-19 list. According to ESPN, the four-time Pro Bowler will also miss the Thanksgiving Day game against the Las Vegas Raiders. Cooper must quarantine since he’s unvaccinated.

Cooper is an integral part of Kellen Moore’s offense. He’s recorded 44 receptions for 583 yards and five touchdowns in nine games for the Cowboys.

The Alabama product was already battling multiple injuries throughout the 2021 season, so he hasn’t played at 100% for much of the year. However, he’s still found ways to be productive.

Dallas boasts the NFL’s third-ranked offense, putting up 31.5 points and 433.8 yards per game. MVP candidate Dak Prescott will need Michael Gallup to step up in Cooper’s absence.

Michael Gallup is ready for a big game in a contract year

Cowboys receivers Amari Cooper and Michael Gallup celebrate a touchdown
Dallas Cowboys wideout Amari Cooper reacts with Michael Gallup after scoring a touchdown against the New York Giants | Rich Graes fourthsle/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Michael Gallup had a rough start to the 2021 season. The fourth-year wide receiver suffered a calf strain in the Cowboys’ season opening-loss to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

Dallas placed Gallup on injured reserve. He was out of action until the Week 10 blowout victory over the Atlanta Falcons. He caught three passes for 42 yards in his return, but Mike McCarthy’s squad will ask him for more against the Kansas City Chiefs.

With Amari Cooper out, it’s fair to assume that Gallup and Cedrick Wilson will each see an uptick in targets. The Colorado State product has the most at stake in this game, though.

Gallup is in the last year of his rookie contract and will become an unrestricted free agent after 2021. Based on the market, he could be worth up to $9 million per year. To earn himself a noteworthy contract in 2022, he’ll need to produce in this prime opportunity.

“You always got something to prove,” Gallup said per Sports Illustrated. “I mean, every week.”

Michael Gallup has all the tools necessary to put up some big numbers against a suspect Chiefs secondary.

Dallas’ talented trio could be broken up after 2021

Entering the 2021 season, it was difficult not to get excited about the Dallas Cowboys’ offense. With the return of Dak Prescott, a hungry Ezekiel Elliott, and a dynamic receiving corps, the expectations were massive.

Amari Cooper, CeeDee Lamb, and Michael Gallup make up one of the most talented wide receiver trios in the NFL. The only team that might feature a better group is the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

Despite being an exciting group to watch, this could be the last season the three wideouts play together in Dallas.

Cooper and Lamb are both focal points of the Cowboys’ offense. Both players have established themselves as reliable go-to weapons for Prescott.

That could leave Gallup as the odd man out in the wide receiver room. Some Cowboys insiders believe it’s already a done deal, too.

“Michael Gallup is too expensive,” said The Athletic’s Bob Sturm. “Even if he did cost himself a bunch by missing half the season. He is going elsewhere.”

The emergence of Cedrick Wilson would make it easier for Dallas to part ways with its former third-round draft pick.

The rest of the 2021 season could be Michael Gallup’s audition for his future team.

All stats courtesy of Pro Football Reference and contract figures courtesy of Spotrac

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