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By: Dave Halprin
Cowboys receiver Michael Gallup is learning some new tricks for 2021.
Michael Gallup has excelled at one thing during his career with the Dallas Cowboys and that has tended to overshadow his other skills as a receiver. After a feeling out period with quarterback Dak Prescott, the two developed chemistry on the long ball and that has led to Gallup being labeled as a deep-ball specialist.
When the Cowboys drafted CeeDee Lamb in 2020, the trio of Lamb, Gallup and Amari Cooper ended up being neatly categorized into certain roles. Lamb was going to be the slot guy and use his quickness and YAC capabilities to work underneath. Cooper would use his top-notch route-running skills to be the do-everything guy and the prime target. Gallup would be the deep threat that would force defenses to cover deep and give the Cowboys offense a quick-strike capability.
In truth, the players all did a little bit of everything, but this categorization was an easy shorthand to describe the unit, and, in fact, Lamb did work primarily out of the slot in 2020. That should change this year. We’ve already heard about Lamb getting more work on the outside, and Cooper has always had the ability to move between the outside and slot. Now, we’re learning that Gallup is going to move around, too.
The Cowboys are giving Gallup an increased workload inside this season. He said the route tree is “a whole lot different” in the slot.
“Everybody labels me as a deep-ball threat, but I know I can do a whole lot more,” Gallup said. “So, me being able to come up on the inside and run some routes from there, short and intermediate game, can certainly show I’m more versatile than folks think.”
Kellen Moore is always trying to work matchups to put the Cowboys in the best possible position on offense. That’s the thinking behind making all three receivers versatile enough to line up anywhere. The hope is that it will stress defenses and end up getting one the big three in an advantageous matchup.
“Honestly, that’s pretty wild to me,” Gallup said. “They’re not going to be able to follow you everywhere. They’re going to have to change defenses up. Having all of us being able to play in the slot like that, that’s pretty big time for just our wide receiver corps in general.”
While this will benefit the Cowboys offense, it should also benefit Gallup personally. He is heading into a contract year, and with the big contract already given to Cooper, and Lamb waiting in the wings for his payday, Gallup could get squeezed out of Dallas. If he can show other teams that he can do it all, not just stretch he defense vertically, his payday will only increase
“For me, if I do everything I’m supposed to do on the field, things are going to come for me off the field,” Gallup said. “I’m not too worried about that. It’s going to happen regardless. Just got to make sure that I put myself in the best position on the field so everything can fall into place off (the field).”
While it could benefit the Cowboys offense this year, it may lead to Gallup being priced out of their range in 2022. In reality, though, that is probably already the case so the team might as well try and get everything they can out of Gallup this year.