The Dallas Cowboys must improve in several areas if they want to have any success during the 2021 NFL season. However, one area where they are already extremely strong is in their offensive skill positions. Dak Prescott has elite athletes surrounding him in Ezekiel Elliott, Amari Cooper, and others. Eventually, though, Dallas may run out of money to pay all of them, as Cowboys WR Michael Gallup is the next big name the team must worry about signing.
Gallup, though, recently made his future free agency intentions clear.
Cowboys WR Michael Gallup will be a free agent next offseason
The Cowboys have spent the past few offseasons paying their big-name players. Ezekiel Elliott is on a six-year, $90 million contract with the team, while Amari Cooper is on a five-year, $100 million deal.
Of course, after years of not being able to come to an agreement, the Cowboys also signed Dak Prescott to a massive four-year, $160 million deal this offseason.
With all that money being spent, you would think that they’d be done worrying about paying their skill position players for a while, but now Dallas must worry about signing Gallup.
Gallup is still on his rookie contract, and, according to CBS Sports, since he was a third-round draft pick, he does not have a fifth-year option, so he will be an unrestricted free agent after this upcoming season. That is unless Dallas does the same thing it did with Prescott and chooses to franchise tag Gallup.
Gallup has been a nice surprise throughout his young career so far, as he has become a breakout player since going to the Cowboys in the third round of the 2018 NFL draft. After catching 33 passes for 507 yards and two touchdowns in his rookie season, Gallup had a huge year in 2019. He caught 66 passes for 1,107 yards and six touchdowns in 14 games. He then continued finding success in 2020, despite Prescott missing most of the year, as he caught 59 passes for 843 yards and five touchdowns.
So, based on his production so far, Gallup is certainly going to get paid. But does he want Dallas to be the team that pays him?
The Cowboys’ WR made his free agency intentions clear
Gallup recently appeared on NFL Network’s Good Morning Football, and he answered a question about his contract situation.
“You’re obviously going to think about it, 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. “You’re not going to get that contract if you don’t do what you’re supposed to on the field first. So, I think that’s one thing to think about, you can’t really talk anything into the future. You’ve just got to do what you’re supposed to do right now. So, for me, it’s just going out there, helping this club win ball games, have fun doing it.”
OK, while Gallup may not really be talking about his contract situation, he did make one thing very clear: he wants to stay with the Cowboys.
“Obviously, I’d love to stay here, love to be in Dallas, love the community, love this city, love the fans,” he said. “So, it’s up in the air, but I want to be right here. So, we’ll see.”
Will the Cowboys keep WR Michael Gallup?
Production-wise, why would the Cowboys want to see Gallup walk? He gained over 1,100 receiving yards in just 14 games with Prescott in 2019.
However, given the talent they already have at receiver, and the money they are currently spending, it’s easy to see a scenario where Gallup just becomes the odd man out.
While we don’t know how much Gallup will make on his next deal, let’s say it’s somewhere around what the franchise tag for wide receivers is worth. For 2021, wide receivers who received a franchise tag will earn $15.98 million. According to Spotrac, the Cowboys are already over the salary cap in 2022, which will be the first year of Gallup’s new deal. So, as of right now, they don’t even have the estimated $16 million that Gallup could cost for that season.
Of course, they can move some players around and do some contract gymnastics to free up some space, but what about CeeDee Lamb? Dallas will also have to worry about paying Lamb in a few years, and, from the outside looking in, the team seems to have more stock in Lamb’s future than it does in Gallup’s.
This certainly doesn’t mean Gallup is leaving Dallas. If he wants to be with the Cowboys, and if he has another big year, it’s hard to see Jerry Jones just letting him walk. But when looking at all the financial obligations the Cowboys already have — and the other guys they have to pay in the future — Gallup may become the odd man out.