Michael Gallup

Dalton Schultz Likely To Play 2022 Season On Franchise Tag?

Although contract talks between the Cowboys and Dalton Schultz picked up when he returned to the team’s facility for minicamp, the veteran tight end has not been rumored to be near a deal.

Negotiations often gain steam just ahead of the July deadline for franchise-tagged players to sign extensions, but the Cowboys may be content with a rental year with Schultz. The fifth-year tight end is likely to play the season on the tag, Todd Archer of ESPN.com notes.

Frustrations with extension talks during OTAs, Schultz made a point to let the team know by skipping the final set of voluntary offseason work. Nothing leading up to minicamp suggested the sides were close on terms.

The Cowboys seeing if a former fourth-round pick can duplicate the kind of season he had in 2021 (78 receptions, 808 yards, eight touchdowns) makes sense, especially given the potential price hike connected to David Njoku‘s $14.2MM-per-year Browns extension. Schultz’s 2021 slate was better than any of Njoku’s seasons, and the Cowboys are keeping their top tight end from cashing in ahead of his age-26 season. Schultz has signed his franchise tender and will not exactly go under-compensated in 2022, being tied to a $10.9MM tag salary.

A tagged season would bring a prime opportunity for Schultz, who may see his place in Dallas’ passing-game hierarchy rise in prominence. The Amari Cooper trade bumped up CeeDee Lamb to the clear-cut No. 1 receiver role. After Lamb, a host of secondary options are present. But former 1,000-yard receiver Michael Gallup is coming off a late-season ACL tear, one expected to sideline him into the upcoming campaign. That said, Gallup might not need to begin the season on the PUP list, Archer adds. Even if Gallup regains form fairly early this year, Schultz will be a key player for the Cowboys.

Dallas’ previous tight end extension — a four-year, $22MM extension for Blake Jarwin — did not work out, after the then-starter’s injury issues changed his career trajectory. Schultz stepped in to bail out the franchise, producing on a Day 3 rookie salary. With a second tag costing 120% of Schultz’s 2022 salary, Jarwin’s successor would have a better chance to reach free agency next year. Mike Gesicki could join Schultz in that boat, if the Dolphins do not extend him by July 15. But if one of these two is extended by then, the other would have a good chance at being the top tight end available next year.

Latest On Cowboys WR Michael Gallup

The Cowboys paid up to keep Michael Gallup in Dallas, but the team might not see the receiver playing on his new contract until late September or early October. Cowboys director of player personnel Stephen Jones told reporters that Gallup could miss two or three games to start the season, per Clarence Hill Jr. of the Dallas Star-Telegram on Twitter.

Gallup continues to rehab a torn ACL suffered in January, so it’s good to know the injury shouldn’t force him off the field for much of the 2022 campaign. When the Cowboys inked Gallup to a five-year, $62.5MM deal, they provided themselves with some injury insurance; according to Hill, Gallup’s contract includes $1MM in annual per-game roster bonuses.

Gallup has spent his entire four-year career with the Cowboys, including a 2019 campaign where he had 1,107 receiving yards. In nine games this past season, Gallup had 35 receptions for 445 yards and two scores.

The Cowboys will certainly need Gallup in the lineup considering the losses of Amari Cooper and Cedrick Wilson this offseason. Jones hinted that the organization could consider adding receivers via the draft.

“We are going to have to draft well,” Jones said (via Hill). “We lost two really good receivers in Amari and Ced. We are looking to find some people who make plays. That receiver situation certainly jumps out.”

NFC East Notes: Wentz, Luck, Gallup, Giants

Before acquiring Carson Wentz, the Commanders scoured the league for their next passer. They made a three-first-rounder offer for Russell Wilson and pursued Aaron Rodgers. Those avenues closed quickly, leading Washington to Wentz. The team made a list of eight QBs it viewed as a satisfactory upgrade, with John Keim of ESPN.com noting this included Deshaun Watson. It is unclear if the team pursued Watson, but Texans GM Nick Caserio pointed out there were more interested teams than the four finalists. The Commanders’ search, which involved Ron Rivera participating in an lengthy QB-centered discussion with three-time Super Bowl champion HC Joe Gibbs, also included a consideration of Andrew Luck. That did not get off the ground, per Keim. Luck has been retired for three seasons now and has dropped some weight from his playing days. Wentz resided somewhere on the Commanders’ eight-man list, with his 6-foot-5 frame appealing to his new team. The Colts initially told the NFC East team he was not available, but that changed at the Combine and led to a deal.

Here is the latest from the NFC East:

  • Given a five-year, $57.5MM Cowboys contract, Michael Gallup is coming off an ACL tear sustained in Week 17. The fifth-year receiver is unlikely to be ready by Week 1, Michael Gehlken of the Dallas Morning News tweets. Dallas is obviously looking at Gallup’s long-term trajectory, having jettisoned Amari Cooper to keep his former sidekick at a lower rate. But the team may need to stash Gallup on the PUP list or make him an active-roster non-participant to start the season, depending on his timetable.
  • The Giants added multiple interior offensive linemen — Mark Glowinski and Jon Feliciano — last week but are still in need at right tackle. They sent key personnel to Mississippi State prospect Charles Cross‘ pro day Tuesday. Offensive coordinator Mike Kafka, offensive line coach Bobby Johnson and assistant O-line coach Tony Sparano Jr. were on-hand in Starkville, Miss., per NJ.com’s Zack Rosenblatt. Cross said the Giants and Jets have been the teams most interested thus far. Cross is viewed as this draft’s third-best tackle prospect, behind Alabama’s Evan Neal and North Carolina State’s Ikem Ekwonu. The Giants hold two top-10 picks — Nos. 5 and 7 — and will not surprise anyone if they use one of them on an O-lineman.
  • James Bradberry and Saquon Barkley remain Giants, but Bradberry’s $21.9MM cap number jumps out on the team’s payroll. The Giants will probably have to jettison Bradberry, even if they would prefer to keep him, SNY’s Ralph Vacchiano writes, due to their cap situation. Big Blue has discussed Barkley and Bradberry in trades, and while they may hang onto the latter until draft weekend, dumping the talented cornerback later in the offseason remains in play. Bradberry’s through-2022 deal already contains a void year, but the Giants would save $11.5MM by designating him as a post-June 1 cut. A trade before or after June 1 would free up more than $12MM in funds, though it remains to be seen how late of a draft pick the Giants would accept for their No. 1 corner.

Cowboys Re-Sign WR Michael Gallup

The Cowboys will avoid letting wide receiver Michael Gallup hit the free agent market after to a five-year, $57.5MM deal, according to Tom Pelissero of NFL Network (on Twitter). After trading away Amari Cooper earlier this week, this moves cements that Dallas’s other three top pass catchers will be returning for the 2022 NFL season.

Gallup, 26, will collect $23MM in guarantees, with Pelissero noting this contract will max out at $62.5MM. A nice payday for Cooper’s former sidekick, whom the Cowboys have chosen over their four-year WR1.

A third-round pick out of Colorado State in 2018, Gallup broke out for 1,107 yards in 2019 alongside Cooper. The arrival of CeeDee Lamb in 2020 limited his production to a still impressive 843 yards as a number three receiver. Even in an injury-plagued 2021 season, Gallup enjoyed glimpses of success.

This news has been in the works for a while now with estimates that the Cowboys were aiming for a five-year pact with an annual average value around $10MM, but that Gallup’s camp may possibly having been pushing for a shorter commitment. Either the rumors about Gallup’s camp have been proven untrue or an annual average value of nearly $12MM was too enticing to turn down.

Regardless, the long-term, decently priced deal is a strong commitment to Gallup after he only played in nine games of his contract year due to a Week 1 calf injury and a season-ending ACL tear in Week 16. The contract seems to indicate that the Cowboys are confident in the medical information they are receiving on Gallup’s recovery.

With decisions made on Cooper and Gallup, and the franchise tag placed on Dalton Schultz, Dallas can focus its attention on the litany of other impact players set to hit the free agent market this week like Randy Gregory, Connor Williams, Leighton Vander Esch and Cedrick Wilson.

Latest On Cowboys’ DeMarcus Lawrence 

Recently, DeMarcus Lawrence declined the Cowboys’ request for a pay cut. Now, with days to go before the start of the new league year, there’s been zero progress on that front, according to Jane Slater of NFL.com (on Twitter). On the plus side, Slater hears that the Cowboys are making headway on a new deal with wide receiver Michael Gallup

[RELATED: Cowboys Hope To Re-Sign Wilson]

Lawrence, 30 in April, earned a five-year, $100MM+ extension following consecutive seasons with double digit sacks. Unfortunately, he hasn’t topped seven sacks since 2018 and he missed much of 2021 with a foot fracture.

The Cowboys could conceivably cut Lawrence and save $19MM if they use the post-June 1 designation. Meanwhile, they also have to consider Randy Gregory, who is out of contract. Releasing Lawrence and losing Gregory to free agency would leave the Cowboys without both of their incumbent starting edge rushers. The Cowboys could have used the franchise tag on Gregory — they chose to cuff tight end Dalton Schultz instead on Wednesday.

As it stands, Lawrence is set to earn $17MM in base salary this year. That’s the second-highest sum of anyone on the Cowboys, behind franchise quarterback Dak Prescott.

The Gallup deal — which seemed to be nearly finished last week — will reportedly pay the wide receiver upwards of $10MM per year. The Cowboys are aiming for a five-year pact, but it’s possible that Gallup’s camp is pushing for a shorter arrangement.

Cowboys, Michael Gallup Nearing Deal?

MONDAY, 8:23pm: The Cowboys are still confident they will retain Gallup on a pre-free agency extension, and Mike Garafolo of NFL.com notes the deal is expected to come in north of $10MM per year (video link). Dallas is aiming to complete a five-year deal with Gallup. Given where the receiver market has gone in recent years, the particulars will be interesting here.

FRIDAY, 4:58pm: This process might not be as close as initially indicated. Gallup and the Cowboys are in talks, but the Dallas Morning News’ Michael Gehlken tweets no deal is imminent. The parties are still working through “moving pieces” as they attempt to agree on a second contract, Josina Anderson of CBS Sports tweets.

FRIDAY, 3:39pm: The Cowboys’ wide receiver plan continues to unfold. Following reports of the team’s intentions to move on from Amari Cooper — via trade or release — the NFC East champions are hoping to retain Michael Gallup.

Gallup and the Cowboys are in talks on a deal that would keep him off the market. The sides are close to finalizing this extension, Adam Schefter of ESPN.com tweets. The Cowboys have exclusive negotiating rights with Gallup until March 14, when the legal tampering period begins. Absent a deal, the free agent-to-be would hit the open market March 16. A contract being finalized Friday would be fitting, as it is Gallup’s 26th birthday.

[RELATED: Cooper Trade Interest Scarce]

Moving Cooper’s $22MM cap number off the payroll will be important here, with the Cowboys long having needed to make a Cooper-or-Gallup choice to go along with CeeDee Lamb‘s rookie contract. Gallup did not have a productive contract year, missing several games because of his Week 1 calf injury and ending the season early due to an ACL tear. That stands to impact Gallup’s value, but the Cowboys are clearly confident he can regain his previous form and work alongside Lamb going forward. Gallup underwent surgery in February.

A third-round pick out of Colorado State, Gallup broke out for 1,107 yards in 2019 alongside Cooper. That is Gallup’s only 1,000-yard campaign, with Lamb having entered the picture a year later. But he still topped 800 in 2020 and enjoyed moments during an injury-plagued 2021 slate. Gallup will not command the price tag Cooper did when he signed a five-year, $100MM deal in 2020.

Reaching a lower-cost accord with Gallup would keep the Cowboys’ hopes of keeping Randy Gregory and Dalton Schultz as well. One of the duo can be retained via the franchise tag, which would make more sense for Schultz due to the tight end tag being much cheaper than the defensive line figure.

Amari Cooper Not Drawing Trade Interest

When attached to his rookie contract, Amari Cooper commanded a first-round pick in a trade. The Cowboys, who sent the Raiders their 2019 first ahead of the 2018 deadline, are not seeing nearly as much interest now that Cooper is tethered to a high-end receiver deal.

The Cowboys will try to trade Cooper, Ian Rapoport of NFL.com notes, but the veteran wideout has not drawn much interest. Even with teams having known the pricey wideout’s availability for weeks now, Yahoo.com’s Charles Robinson notes teams are not lining up to acquire his current contract (Twitter links). Cooper’s deal runs through 2024 and carries a $22MM cap number for this season. One receiver-needy team informed Robinson it has no interest in Cooper at this price. If no reasonable trade offer emerges, the Cowboys intend to cut Cooper.

In recent years, the draft has begun to provide teams with quality value at receiver, with the past few classes being flush with pass-catching help. With those rookies tied to low-cost deals for at least three seasons, value for players like Cooper — who signed a five-year, $100MM deal in 2020 — diminishes.

The Cowboys moving Cooper off their roster before March 20 saves them $16MM, funds that could be allocated to some of the team’s impending free agents. Cooper’s $20MM base salary becomes fully guaranteed on that fifth day of the 2022 league year. The team is interested in retaining Dalton Schultz, and Robinson adds it weighed Cooper’s cost with the ability to keep Michael Gallup, Cedrick Wilson and potentially Randy Gregory (Twitter links). Wilson, Gallup’s injury replacement in 2021, joins Gallup and Gregory in being on track for free agency. To go through with this plan, the Cowboys ($13.4MM over the cap) will need to make more moves to free up space.

Gallup potentially being available at a slight discount due to his ACL tear benefits the Cowboys, Clarence Hill of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram writes, potentially factoring into the team’s plan. Retaining Gallup would be a cheaper option than keeping Cooper, though losing the latter would stand to put more pressure on CeeDee Lamb, who has benefited from defenses’ attention to Cooper. The Cooper-or-Gallup long-term choice has been on the team’s radar for a while now, and it appears a decision has been made.

Despite having played seven seasons, Cooper is just 27. He would certainly draw extensive interest on the open market. The prospect of the Packers franchise-tagging Davante Adams and the Buccaneers using a second tag on Chris Godwin would enhance Cooper’s value, if the Cowboys indeed release him. Cooper is a four-time Pro Bowler who has posted five 1,000-yard seasons.

Surgery Updates For Cowboys’ Gregory, Gallup

Big decisions are looming for the Cowboys this offseason, as they try to maintain one of the league’s most talented rosters. Two key pieces to the team – who both happen to be pending free agents coming off of significant injuries – are defensive end Randy Gregory and wide receiver Michael Gallup

The former has already undergone knee surgery, according to ESPN’s Todd Archer. While the issue bothered him throughout the season, it didn’t cost him any time (unlike one missed game because of COVID-19, and a calf strain that landed him on IR). Overall, the 12 games Gregory was able to play in was tied for the second most in his career, mainly as a result of multiple suspensions.

The 29-year-old is set to hit free agency for the first time in his career. The Cowboys signed him to an extension in September of 2020, keeping him in the fold through this past year. He responded with six sacks, three forced fumbles and one interception, as he was a key member of Dallas’ impressive defensive unit. According to David Helman of Cowboys.com, owner and general manager Jerry Jones recently expressed optimism in being able to bring Gregory back: “Knowing our time together and some of the pluses and some of the times that we’ve had to work through and some of the not-so-fun things, that will serve us well”, he said.

Meanwhile, Gallup is scheduled to have knee surgery next week, writes Michael Gehlken of The Dallas Morning News. The 25-year-old tore his ACL at the beginning of the month, ending his season. He ended up with the lowest receiving yards of his four-year career, but his 2019 season (66 catches for 1,107 yards and six touchdowns) alone should earn him plenty of suitors if he hits the market. With a great deal of money already committed to Amari Cooper, and CeeDee Lamb eligible for an extension as early as next season, the Cowboys may very well have to keep only one of Gallup or breakout tight end Dalton Schultz, who is also a pending UFA.

Both players are expected to make full recoveries, and be available for the start of the 2022 season. Whether or not they will playing in Dallas by that point remains to be seen.

 

Minor NFL Transactions: 1/5/22

Here are Wednesday’s minor moves:

Arizona Cardinals

Atlanta Falcons

Carolina Panthers

Chicago Bears 

Cleveland Browns

Dallas Cowboys

Denver Broncos

Green Bay Packers

Las Vegas Raiders

Los Angeles Rams

Miami Dolphins

Minnesota Vikings

New Orleans Saints

New York Giants

New York Jets

San Francisco 49ers

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Tennessee Titans

Cowboys’ Michael Gallup Done For Year

Cowboys wide receiver Michael Gallup has been diagnosed with a full ACL tear, according to NFL.com’s Ian Rapoport (Twitter link). This was the feared outcome after Gallup was forced out of Sunday’s game against the Cardinals. 

It was tough, very tough,” quarterback Dak Prescott said after the game (via ESPN.com). “Coming in at halftime and going to see him, just unfortunate. A guy that I love. Can’t get a better teammate than MG. Sick about it.”

Gallup suffered the injury when his knee buckled after a 21-yard touchdown grab. While the rest of the Cowboys gear up for the playoffs, his season will end with 35 catches for 445 yards and two TDs. Now, the Cowboys will be leaning even more on top receivers Amari Cooper and CeeDee Lamb with extra support from Cedrick Wilson. On the plus side, Wilson had a solid game against Arizona, collecting six grabs for 35 yards and a score.

The timing is especially unfortunate for Gallup since he’ll be out of contract in March. Between this and his calf injury earlier this year, he’s entering free agency with a less-than-ideal platform. Still, if he can make strides in rehab, there should be a healthy market for his services. Just last year, Gallup managed 59 catches for 843 yards and five touchdowns, a solid encore to his career year (66/1,107/6) in 2019.