This Cowboys WR's continued struggles casts darker cloud on Amari Cooper trade

Dallas Cowboys v Los Angeles Chargers
Dallas Cowboys v Los Angeles Chargers / Ronald Martinez/GettyImages

The Dallas Cowboys improved to 4-2 on the season with their win over the LA Chargers on Monday Night Football. Dak Prescott delivered arguably his best performance of the season, and did so while overcoming horrendous coaching from Mike McCarthy and a lousy game from wide receiver Michael Gallup.

Fans tried giving Gallup the benefit of the doubt after he struggled in 2022 -- his first season removed from ACL surgery. Reports out of training camp indicated Gallup had his burst and spring back and the WR himself admitted his confidence had been restored to what it was pre-injury.

Gallup has showed flashes this season, but he was a tough watch vs the Chargers. He caught just three of 10 targets (including a team-high seven targets in the first half) for 24 yards. His bad night culminated with a drop in the end zone that Prescott fit in between three LA defenders from over 30 yards out.

To add insult to injury, Gallup's forgettable game came 24 hours after Amari Cooper came up huge in the Browns upset of the hated 49ers.

Cowboys choosing Michael Gallup over Amari Cooper continues to age horrendously.

Cooper caught 4 passes for 108 yards in Cleveland's upset. He made a number of explosive plays, including an insane leaping grab on the first possession after halftime in which the Browns kicked a field goal to tie the game. The throw had a 9.0% completion probability, which is the lowest percentage this season for a completed pass, according to Next Gen Stats.

Sunday marked Cooper's second 100-yard effort of the season and third game with at least 90 receiving yards. He might not be a surefire top-10 guy anymore given the surplus of great receivers in the NFL today, but he's still one of the most gifted (and underrated) pass-catchers the league has to offer.

Cooper doesn't post gaudy numbers every week, but his five contested catches are tops among receivers, according to Pro Football Focus (subscription required), and his four catches in traffic are tied for fourth.

Any team would be lucky to have him, but the Cowboys gave him away for a bag of peanuts ... because he was too expensive. We keep hearing that Dallas couldn't afford Cooper because he was on a $20 million per year contract.

A whopping 11 receivers make as much or more than Cooper this season and that number will expand once the next generation of star WRs sign. Meanwhile, the Cowboys gave a recovering Michael Gallup a five-year, $57 million contract with $23 million guaranteed days before they shipped Cooper to the Browns.

We hate to pick on a guy when he's down, but Dallas effectively choosing Gallup over Cooper is one of the biggest (non-QB) blunders in recent NFL history. It's aged horrendously and will continue to do so amid Gallup's struggles vs press coverage and Cooper dominating over 1,000 miles away in Cleveland.

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