Michael Gallup is expected to miss 2 to 4 weeks after sustaining a knee injury last Sunday against the Washington Redskins that ended up requiring surgery. For the Dallas Cowboys passing game this is a huge hit, but thankfully not a long-term one. In the short term though someone needs to step up, but who?
The most logical solution is for the Cowboys to promote Devin Smith and let him take over Gallup’s role on the outside. After all, Smith not only led the team in receiving yards in preseason, but accomplished that feat once again last week against the Redskins (73 yards, 1 TD). But if that’s not the direction they want to go, they could look for outside help.
The current wide receiver free agent pool isn’t completely void of talent, but there’s probably a certain criteria Dallas would be looking for. They’d more than likely prefer someone who can step in and contribute right away and someone who might already know the system. Luckily, there are a few WRs who fit the bill.
Free agent wide receivers with a familiarity with the Dallas Cowboys system is as good a place to start as any, so let’s start there…
Former Dallas Cowboys WRs
How ironic would it be for Dez Bryant to rejoin the Dallas Cowboys and replace the receiver who was drafted/brought in to replace him? If the Cowboys are looking for a WR who plays the game and shares the same kind of traits as Michael Gallup, bringing back Bryant should definitely be discussed. He is no longer the WR1 he once was, but that’s not the role he would be asked to play anyways. He’s familiar with the system and more importantly I believe Offensive Coordinator Kellen Moore would know how to get the best out of him.
If the Dallas Cowboys are truly looking for someone to fill in a few games while Michael Gallup is out, former Cowboys WR Terrance Williams wouldn’t be a bad option. Williams has received a lot of unwarranted hate over the years, but he was a solid WR2 during his time in Dallas. He was at his best when Tony Romo was the QB, but for some reason was never able to really click with Dak Prescott. However, the new innovative playcalling of OC Kellen Moore plays more to the strengths of Williams and could help him and Prescott connect.
For a short period of time in 2018 Deonte Thompson was a member of the Dallas Cowboys, meaning he’s familiar with the system and has worked with Dak Prescott already. If brought in, he should be able to hit the ground running and hopefully pick up some of the slack while Michael Gallup is out. I don’t think he’s really an upgrade over Devin Smith or any of the other WRs currently on the Cowboys roster, but he could provide depth in the short term until Gallup is able to return.
Former Divisional Foes
As a former division foe during his time with the Washington Redskins, the Dallas Cowboys should be very familiar with WR Pierre Garcon. He was a handful to deal with during his time in the NFC East, but unfortunately he has struggled remaining healthy since leaving and joining the San Francisco 49ers. If healthy though, he could be exactly the kind of player the Cowboys are looking for to fill in for Michael Gallup. His playing style is nearly identical and he should be able to step in and help out right away due to his veteran experience.
Jordan Matthews is another former divisional foe who the Dallas Cowboys should know pretty well. He’s had two different stents with the Philadelphia Eagles and in that time he has had some impactful moments while playing the Cowboys. I personally believe Matthews is at his best when playing out of the slot, but he does have the ability to play on the outside as well. This could allow OC Kellen Moore to get a little extra creative because Amari Cooper and Randall Cobb have that same versatility. He could also provide a little extra insight about the Eagles since he was most recently with them in 2018.
Talented WRs With Red Flags
If the Dallas Cowboys don’t mind a few red flags, they could kick the tires on Kelvin Benjamin to see if he would be able to contribute right away. I have a hard time believing the Cowboys will go this direction though. Benjamin has a history of being overweight and out of shape, meaning he likely wouldn’t be ready to step in and play immediately. However, he does possess intriguing size and could be utilized as a red zone threat until Gallup returns.
The only reason Martavis Bryant is still probably available on the market is due to his red flags and checkered past. Talent wise though he’s as good as just about any receiver in the NFL. Again, I don’t think the Dallas Cowboys would go this direction since they are already dealing with a similar situation with Randy Gregory (substance abuse), but I wouldn’t rule it out altogether either. I wouldn’t mind them giving him a shot while Gallup is out and then move on if it doesn’t pan out. It’s one of those risk/reward situations they have been known to make.