The Cowboys are likely to cut ties with starting wide receiver Amari Cooper by the start of 2022 free agency, as ESPN first reported. A decent portion of the money they’ll save by releasing Cooper, meanwhile, is set to be redirected to fellow pass catcher Michael Gallup. Days after ESPN reported Dallas is close to finalizing a new long-term deal for the 26-year-old Gallup, the pending free-agent wideout could be poised to net more than $50 million as part of his expected extension.
The Cowboys are confident in Gallup’s return from an ACL tear that limited him to nine games in 2021, NFL Media’s Mike Garafolo reported Monday, and are prepared to extend the former third-round pick on a deal that could run five years and average an annual payout of more than $10 million.
That figure isn’t necessarily lucrative in the context of the WR market. A $10M annual salary, for example, would make Gallup roughly a top-30 receiver in terms of per-year money. A long-term deal, however, especially one that runs five seasons — through the 2026 season — would be a substantial gamble for both sides. Gallup could theoretically prioritize a one-year prove-it deal to rebuild his market following an injury-marred 2021 campaign, while the Cowboys could opt for the same while assessing whether Gallup is durable enough to warrant a long-term commitment.
More than likely, any deal for Gallup — especially a long-term extension — will be incentive-laden as the receiver comes off knee rehab. All signs point to Gallup returning to Dallas, however, rather than testing free agency as one of the most promising veterans available behind big names like Allen Robinson and franchise-tag candidates Chris Godwin and Davante Adams.