We've wondered throughout this 2021 offseason if Wide Receiver Michael Gallup would be traded at some point by the Dallas Cowboys. It hasn't happened yet, and probably won't anytime this summer, but could we see Gallup traded sometime during the upcoming season?
The conversation around trading Gallup is born out of his impending unrestricted free agency in 2022. With Amari Cooper already making big money and CeeDee Lamb already getting more targets in the passing game, Michael is now third fiddle in Dallas' offense but still a great talent and a walk-on starter for many other teams.
Rather than losing Gallup for nothing concrete in 2022 and relying on the compensatory pick formula, the Cowboys could secure a return for his departure with a trade now. As we just saw yesterday with Julio Jones getting traded to Tennessee, these moves could still happen in the months leading up to training camp.
Dallas is wise to not ship Gallup out too quickly. All it takes is one injury to Cooper or Lamb for Michael to go from a luxury trade chip to a vital component of Dallas' offensive success. They may want to wait until the last minute before pulling that trigger, if it's something they're considering at all.
While the regular season will now be 17 games over 18 weeks, the annual trade deadline should still land on the Tuesday after Week 8. That's nearly half the season passed; major potential shifts in needs and player values from the realities of Week 1.
Then again, waiting for a deadline deal is also Russian roulette for the team holding on the player. That's eight games, plus preseason, camp, and all other practices where the potential asset could get injured and become untradeable.
For a team like the Cowboys, already favored to win their their division and hoping to return to being a legitimate NFC contender, keeping Michael Gallup has tremendous value for them in 2021. The security he provides at the WR position and the extra potency when all weapons are deployed can make this a championship-worthy offense.
If Dallas starts the season well, keeping Gallup becomes even more attractive as the playoffs become real. If the Cowboys struggle early and their postseason participation is looking dicey after Week 8, trading Michael would become a far more logical move.
Another factor in all of this is who moves up the depth chart should Gallup depart. While we've seen flashes from Cedrick Wilson and are excited about 4th-round rookie Simi Fehoko, there's little-to-no evidence at this time that either could fill Gallup's shoes as the third receiver.
Of course, that too can change over the next few months. If one of those other receivers really shines in July and August then Dallas could feel better about letting Gallup go as soon as final cuts.
The Cowboys may not even be thinking this way. Gallup may be locked in for 2021 and they're willing to see what happens in free agency next year. Potentially getting a 3rd-round pick back for him as a compensatory, after using a 3rd on him in 2018, would be a fine outcome.
But given his production the last few years, Michael Gallup could demand more in the trade market. If a team dangles a 2nd-rounder in front of the Cowboys as part of a trade package, they'd have a hard time ignoring that offer.
Naturally it takes two to tango and another team has to be interested. But it's hard to imagine one out of 31 other NFL teams not being able to upgrade their WR2 spot, or perhaps even WR1, by adding Gallup.
Bottom line; Michael Gallup is still a Cowboy today but there's still plenty of opportunity for that to change before 2022. Just because he he hasn't traded yet doesn't mean it still can't happen between now and the midseason deadline. There are ample reasons, as we've outlined here, that could push Dallas to still make that move.