The Dallas Cowboys are again making moves to create operating room under the salary cap as the team restructured the contract of wide receiver Michael Gallup, according to ESPN. The move saves Dallas roughly $7 million against its books, dropping Gallup's cap hit from just over $13.8 million to around $6.4 million, according to OverTheCap.com.
Gallup signed a five-year, $57.5 million contract with the Cowboys last offseason despite having torn his ACL in Week 17 of the 2021 season. Rehab from the injury kept him out of the first three games of the 2022 season and prevented him from playing a full complement of snaps until close to the end of the year. In 14 games, Gallup caught just 39 passes for 424 yards and four touchdowns. His 10.9 yards-per-catch average was the lowest of his career, and the 52.7% catch rate was lower than every season save for his rookie year.
At his best, Gallup is a true "X" receiver who can challenge defenses deep down the field and win in contested-catch situations on the perimeter. He largely was not at his best in either 2021 or 2022, but the Cowboys are apparently confident he can recapture his pre-injury form in Year 2 following his recovery.
Dallas still needs to add talent to its receiving corps, even if Gallup comes closer to being the player he used to be, because nobody other than CeeDee Lamb was able to threaten defenses with an explosive gain last year. However, the Cowboys rarely wade into free agency these days, so it's not necessarily clear who their target for that role might be.
Instead, the move might allow the Cowboys to hang onto two high-priced veterans whose time in Dallas likely should have been coming to a close in Tyron Smith and Ezekiel Elliott. They're currently set to count against Dallas' books for over $34 million, which is largely untenable given the level of their play and injury risk these days. Agreeing to reduced salaries makes much more sense than keeping them on their current deals, though outright releasing them (particularly Elliott) would likely better serve the team's future.
If Dallas had kept Gallup on his current deal for the 2023 season, it would have had an opportunity to get out of it at the end of the year if he struggled again. The team elected instead to borrow from the future, making it more difficult to move on if things don't go the way they want them to.