2. Michael Gallup, WR: $13.85 million cap hit in 2024
The main reason Dallas extending Terence Steele fresh off a serious injury was frustrating was the fact that the front office was just burnt for doing the same thing in 2022. Michael Gallup, a former third-round pick, broke out in 2019 with 1,107 yards and six touchdowns. He proved to be a beast at hauling in contested passes and averaged 16.8 yards per grab.
He continued to thrive in 2020 with 843 yards on 59 receptions but then tore his ACL against the Arizona Cardinals in late December. Before Gallup even proved he was healthy, Dallas rewarded him with a five-year extension worth $57.5 million. Making matters worse, they traded Amari Cooper to the Cleveland Browns for practically nothing in order to make the extension happen.
Since signing the deal, Gallup hasn't been close to the player we once saw. He has 73 receptions for 842 yards and six touchdowns over the past two years. That's one fewer yard and just one more touchdown than he had in 2020 before suffering the injury — and his numbers wouldn't even be this good had it not been for them force-feeding him the ball early in the year.
Once Dak Prescott stopped trying to force things with Gallup, the entire offense improved. Both Jalen Tolbert and KaVontae Turpin were more comfortable and effecient when they replaced Gallup which is a sign the Cowboys might need to move on. It just won't be easy.
Gallup enters the offseason with a cap hit of $13.85 million which is sixth on the team — and Terence Steele is right behind him at No. 7. As a pre-June 1 cut, he would cost $13 million in dead money with less than $1 million in savings. Post-June 1 would be much better but they would still be hit with a $4.35 million cap number while saving $9.5 million. It's a tough pill to swallow for someone who once meant so much to this team but they can't keep him at this salary.