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Offseason | 2024

Gallup released by Cowboys ahead of free agency


FRISCO, Texas — The fate of Michael Gallup has been decided by the Dallas Cowboys. In the wake of having been granted permission to seek a possible trade partner just ahead of the doors flying open to this year's free agency spree, the veteran wide receiver was unsuccessful in doing so and, as such, has instead been released. 

It's a decision that has loomed for months now, considering the 28-year-old was set to hit the Cowboys' salary cap this year for more than $13 million, and for nearly $46 million over the remaining three years of his existing contract — numbers that are not commensurate with his recent struggles.

The Cowboys will likely designate Gallup as a post-June 1 release and while that won't prohibit him from signing elsewhere immediately, it will guarantee Dallas receives a robust $9.5 million in cap savings for 2024; and pushes them deeper into the green after having restructured the deal with Zack Martin that was reworked last July.

As it stands, the Cowboys will move to around $11.7 million in cap space following Gallup's release, per, but, again, that is contingent upon a post-June 1 designation. 

If he were to be designated a pre-June 1 release, those savings dwindle mightily to just $800,000, a negligible amount that would put them at only $3 million under the current cap.

As such, the decision as to which box to check is ultimately a no-brainer.

Gallup's on-the-field struggles are largely due to road back from a torn ACL suffered in 2021, Gallup having not consistently returned to the dynamic form that existed prior to that season-ending injury. 

He showed flashes in 2023, but the emergence of other receivers such as KaVontae Turpin and fellow former third-round pick Jalen Tolbert carved into Gallup's target rate along with the addition of Brandin Cooks, who was acquired from the Houston Texans last spring in exchange for a 2024 fifth-round pick. 

Cooks has since become the true complementary piece for CeeDee Lamb, and the leap taken by tight end Jake Ferguson in his second year only made things that much more difficult for Gallup on a week-to-week basis. 

A former third-round pick in 2018, Gallup leaves the Cowboys having been one of their more electric receivers in recent seasons, and a consummate professional, mentor and locker room presence. 

He was able to blow past the 1,000-yard receiving mark in only his second year in the NFL, evidence of his deep-threat abilities and physically violent way in which he attacks catches, alongside Amari Cooper but prior to Lamb arriving by way of a first-round pick in 2020. 

The three formed a formidable tandem for quarterback Dak Prescott prior to Cooper being traded in 2022, leaving Gallup to step up and take the reins as WR2 with Lamb taking on the role of WR1 that was vacated by the departure of Cooper and, as such, the Cowboys awarded Gallup with a five-year extension despite the aforementioned torn ACL having been suffered only months prior.

Gallup entered the league as a two-time All-Mountain West talent and a Consensus All-American for Colorado State, and there was no mistaking his ability to dominate at the NFL level prior to his injury. 

He's since made a handful of game-changing plays in his return, but nothing that rivals what he once was, or what he might be in a scenario wherein a fresh start potentially leads to exponentially more targets that are simply no longer available for him in Dallas.

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