The front office of the Dallas Cowboys will have a ‘good problem’ on their hands following the 2021 NFL season. They will have a trio of wide receivers that any team would love to have. However, only two will be under contract, Amari Cooper and CeeDee Lamb (playing on his rookie contract).
But Michael Gallup is going to be a free agent. He has played like someone the Cowboys should bring back, but with what he will command on the open market, Dallas cannot afford him. However, they could if they make one bold move.
Cut or trade Amari Cooper.
Dallas signed Cooper to a five-year, $100 million extension back in 2020. In the two seasons that followed, he had 1000+ receiving yards in both, 13 total touchdowns, and has caught 69 percent of the passes thrown his way. So, has he been worth the money? Most people would say yes.
Then again, several receivers are getting paid less than him and producing as much or more, making it sound like Cooper is overpaid.
As for Gallup, he has developed into a good wide receiver. But in his three seasons, he has only accounted for 1000+ yards once. On the other hand, Cooper has gone for 1000+ in each of his three seasons with the Cowboys. But he had the lowest yards/reception mark of his career (14.3 yards/reception).
However, it was still the highest mark on the team.
Both are good receivers that have produced well over the last three seasons, but Cooper has produced better. So, then how could keeping Gallup be the more intelligent move?
In a perfect world, it would be nice to keep both. With Dak Prescott’s extension kicking in during the 2022 season, it would be nice to keep his arsenal loaded with weapons. That way, Jerry Jones will be more likely to get more for his money.
But the Cowboys are projected to be well over the salary cap in 2022—which means they already need to find some cap relief. Tack on an additional $10 million for Gallup, and the problem gets worse.
That is why they need to get rid of Cooper instead. If they designate him as a post-June 1 cut, he will only account for $2 million in dead money. His $20 million base salary would be off the books, though.
It sounds crazy to even consider getting rid of such a talented player like Cooper, but if his departure opens the door for Lamb and Gallup to make a leap, losing Cooper won’t significantly hurt the offense. If the Cowboys can trade Cooper for value, it might ultimately help.
Of course, keeping both would be the preferred option. However, that would require some masterful negotiating and a lot of restructured contracts to find the money. That could happen, but it is more likely either Cooper or Gallup will be wearing a different uniform in 2022.