Cowboys cheap habits could keep them from replacing Michael Gallup

The Dallas Cowboys cut wide receiver Michael Gallup without much of a backup plan. Finding a replacement for him won't be easy.

Philadelphia Eagles v Dallas Cowboys
Philadelphia Eagles v Dallas Cowboys / Sam Hodde/GettyImages

The Dallas Cowboys are having a difficult year. The woes began with a humiliating postseason loss to the Green Bay Packers. The loss was followed by public quarrels between family members of Cowboys players and former players comparing the Dallas facilities to a zoo. Dallas was heavily scrutinized for their lack of free agency signings. For running back Derrick Henry, who was interested in joining the Cowboys, the silence from Dallas was deafening.

The Cowboys' silent offseason can largely be attributed to their salary cap. The team currently has $5.5 million in salary cap space. They'll need to reserve $8.1 million for their projected 2024 NFL Draft class, as well as any midseason trades and transactions. Obviously, that leaves them with no room to make any splashy signings, and it's a part of the reason why Dallas parted ways with wide receiver Michael Gallup.

Gallup was developing into a reliable and trusted target for Dak Prescott before he suffered a torn ACL ligament in 2021. Over his first three seasons, the former third-round pick reeled in 158 catches for 2,457 yards and 13 touchdowns. Dallas elected to sign him to an extension, but Gallup never returned to form after the injury.

The Cowboys were able to save $9.5 million in cap space by releasing Gallup, but the team won't get the money before then since he was released with a post-June 1 designation. The extra cash should help the team sign their rookies and add some depth pieces, but they'll still need to find a replacement for Gallup.

The Cowboys don't have many good options to replace Michael Gallup

Dallas has Jalen Tolbert, a third-round pick in the 2022 NFL Draft who flashed potential but wasn't able to produce consistently. It would be a risk to head into the 2024 season expecting Tolbert to fill in as the third wideout, but there aren't many viable options behind Tolbert. KaVontae Turpin and Jalen Brooks are young and dynamic players, but they have even less experience than Tolbert.

The Cowboys possess seven draft picks, but those will likely be used to fill the more glaring roster holes. Their wide receiver room is led by All-Pro star CeeDee Lamb and savvy veteran Brandin Cooks, who joined the team last offseason. While finding a reliable third receiving option is important, the offense has more pressing needs — particularly at running back and left tackle — after losing several starting players in free agency.

The Cowboys restructured Dak Prescott's contract, but his $55.4 million cap hit is still the second-highest in the league, behind only Cleveland's Deshaun Watson ($63.9 million). With Prescott taking up that much space, he'll likely have to figure out a way to win without a strong third option at wide receiver.

Expect Dallas to use a late-round pick on a developmental receiver, especially since the 2024 NFL Draft is expected to be a considerably deep wide receiver class.

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