$62 Million Receiver Joins Free Agent Market Following Unceremonious Release

Michael Gallup is the latest addition to the free agent wide receiver pool, as the Dallas Cowboys parted ways with their former third-round pick. A third-round pick in the 2018 NFL Draft, there was a time when the Colorado State product looked like a great homegrown talent. After a promising rookie season, the wideout recorded 66 receptions for 1,107 yards and six touchdowns in 2019, joining with Amari Cooper to form one of the best receiver duos in football. He followed it up with an 800-yard season in 2020, maintaining decent production despite the addition of CeeDee Lamb.

Michael Gallup Free Agent

Unfortunately, the past few years have not been kind to the wide receiver. Michael Gallup tore his ACL during Week 17 of the 2021 season, but the Cowboys still decided to give him a five-year, $62.5 million deal as a free agent. Effectively, the team chose him over Amari Cooper, as they shipped the wideout to the Cleveland Browns for a fifth-round pick.

This proved to be a mistake. While Cooper has maintained a high level of play in Cleveland, Gallup has yet to capture his pre-injury form. The Colorado State product didn’t do much of anything in 2022, but you could blame that on his ACL recovery. However, he should’ve been better in 2023, but he only managed to record 34 receptions for 428 yards and two touchdowns. With cap space at a premium, the Cowboys decided to cut Michael Gallup and make him a free agent.

Cowboys Release Michael Gallup, Could Have Free Agent Market
Gallup’s struggles in 2022 were understandable, as the receiver tore his ACL late in 2021 and probably wasn’t 100% at any point in the season. His poor performance in 2023, however, is hard to justify. Now two years removed from his knee injury, Gallup should have regained his full strength. Instead, he continued to play uninspiring football despite the Cowboys’ clear need for a second receiver. With Brandin Cooks also slowing down, quarterback Dak Prescott had no choice but to throw it to Lamb almost exclusively.

Unfortunately, it appears as though the ACL injury permanently sapped some of Gallup’s athleticism. While the free agent probably won’t be anything more than a depth option in a passing attack, several teams could use a player like Michael Gallup on their roster. There are not enough good receivers to go around, and as long as fans keep expectations in check, the former third-round pick can still be a reliable option who receives 3-4 targets per game.

Possible Team Fits
New England Patriots
The Patriots have the worst collection of wide receivers in the league. Despite entering free agency with a seemingly unlimited amount of cap space, the team was unable to sign Calvin Ridley and seemingly hasn’t shown interest in anyone else. Whether it’s Jacoby Brissett or a rookie, New England’s next quarterback is not going to succeed in this environment. Michael Gallup can’t singlehandedly save this passing attack, but the free agent will make life marginally easier for whoever is under center next year.

Los Angeles Chargers
The Chargers want to build their offense around the run game, but they still need somebody to catch the ball. With Keenan Allen and Mike Williams out of town, Los Angeles doesn’t have a single reliable wide receiver on the roster. Michael Gallup should not be the top option in any passing attack, but even the present-day version of the free agent is a more reliable option than Quentin Johnston.

Carolina Panthers
The Carolina Panthers don’t have a superstar at wide receiver, but they have two reliable options in Diontae Johnson and Adam Thielen. While this isn’t the worst receiver duo in the league, they could use another body. Michael Gallup can provide another set of hands, and the free agent isn’t so good that he prevents the Panthers from using one of their two second-round picks on a younger wide receiver.

New Orleans Saints
The Saints need to make the playoffs if Dennis Allen wants to keep his job. After failing to accomplish that task in 2023, the Buccaneers brought back all of their impending free agents and the Falcons dramatically improved their offense. It’s going to be harder than ever to break their playoff dry spell, especially since they don’t have the financial resources to spend big on top free agents. Michael Gallup is probably the best player available in their price range, and the free agent could be a reliable third option behind Chris Olave and Rashid Shaheed.

Baltimore Ravens
The Baltimore Ravens have two reliable receivers in Zay Flowers and Mark Andrews. However, they could use a third option to come in and replace Odell Beckham Jr. Michael Gallup isn’t as good as Beckham, but the free agent will be considerably cheaper, which is good news for a Ravens organization that doesn’t have enough money to keep all of their impending free agents.

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