One of the more underrated traits that NFL players can have, especially on the offensive side of the football is to find a way to make plays when the plan breaks down. It was one of the traits that endeared us to Tony Romo during his tenure with the Dallas Cowboys. We all remember the “Romo Spin” that helped him to elude free rushers on countless occasions, most notably J.J. Watt.
That ability to make plays out of improvisation helped Laurent Robinson earn a sizable contract with the Jacksonville Jaguars after just one season with the Cowboys.
In 2019, Wide Receiver Michael Gallup became an essential player for the Dallas Cowboys and, more importantly, for Dak Prescott when he was under pressure.
Per Pro Football Focus, Michael Gallup led the NFL in touchdown receptions when their quarterback was under pressure with five. Gallup had six total touchdowns on the season.
In year two, Michael Gallup proved to be a valuable member of the offense, going for more than 1,100 receiving yards and averaging 16.8 yards per reception, which was seventh in the NFL. Only two receivers with more than 100 targets averaged more yards per reception than Gallup did in 2019; Kenny Golladay of the Detroit Lions and Mike Evans of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
Gallup was 11th in yards before the catch per reception, per Pro Football Reference. Meaning Gallup traveled, on average, 11.7 yards down the field before receiving the football. Only four players with more than 100 targets had more yards before the catch per reception.
Michael Gallup is a player that is on the rise. Even with a talent like CeeDee Lamb added to the mix, Michael Gallup will continue to be a dynamic player for the Dallas Cowboys as their number two wide receiver.
In both 2018 and 2019, Gallup proved to be a reliable red zone weapon for Prescott. Going back to the playoff game against Seattle in 2018, Dak went to Gallup on back to back throws just before halftime, the second one connecting to give the Dallas Cowboys their first lead of the game.
In his short time with the Cowboys, he’s shown to be a reliable downfield weapon. He’s been an underrated route runner, and his athleticism and speed have allowed him the opportunity to create separation down the field.
Even though the Dallas Cowboys just drafted CeeDee Lamb and handed Amari Cooper a big bag of cash for the next five years, it isn’t a foregone conclusion that Michael Gallup won’t be with the team when his contract expires after the 2021 season.
The Dallas Cowboys can get out of Amari Cooper’s contract after 2021, with only $6 million in dead money to the salary cap. Even if they keep Cooper, if the cap grows with the next television deal as it is expected to, then the Cowboys could theoretically find a way to keep their dynamic wide receiver trio together for the long haul.
The Cowboys passing game looks like it could be one of the best in the NFL in 2020, and a big reason for that is Michael Gallup. Had he played all 16 games, Gallup would have had 1,265 yards at his 14 game average.
Though he might have been lost in the shuffle of the Amari Cooper re-signing and CeeDee Lamb draft selection, Michael Gallup will still put up big numbers in Kellen Moore’s vertical based offense. As the team continues to pass more than it did during the Jason Garrett era, there will be more opportunities for Michael Gallup.
As much as Amari Cooper and CeeDee Lamb will take the pressure off of Gallup, his ability to stretch the field will take a lot of pressure off of Cooper and Lamb as well. As a defensive coordinator, how do you deploy coverage against three dynamic pass catchers? Both Cooper and Gallup went over 1,100 yards in 2019, and CeeDee Lamb was the best wide receiver in the 2020 draft class. And let’s not forget to mention Blake Jarwin at tight end or Ezekiel Elliott and the running game.
With the additions they’ve made to the offense, the likely improvement from Dak Prescott, and a more aggressive approach from the offense, year three for Michael Gallup has the opportunity to be his best season yet. For the Dallas Cowboys to get where they want to go, he’ll need to perform as he did in 2019 for them to have a chance.