It's never fun to pile on an underperforming player. That said, the Dallas Cowboys have a Michael Gallup-sized elephant in the room.
Fans' frustrations with Gallup reached a boiling point Monday night against the Chargers, when quarterback Dak Prescott was wildly inefficient targeting his No. 2 receiver. It was blatant to anyone watching, largely because Prescott was proficient whenever he targeted anyone else.
Of Prescott's nine incompletions, seven came when he targeted Gallup. When targeting non-Gallup pass-catchers, he was 18-of-20 for 248 yards, including a perfect 7-of-7 when targeting CeeDee Lamb and 4-of-4 when targeting Brandin Cooks. The QB was 3-of-10 for 24 yards when throwing Gallup's way.
Granted, that should've been 4-for-10 for some 50-plus yards, but Gallup dropped a touchdown that Prescott dropped into a bucket from 30 yards out.
It was a rough outing for Gallup and it's growing increasingly likely that the Cowboys move on after this season.
How much cap space can the Cowboys save if they cut Michael Gallup?
According to Over The Cap, the Cowboys can save $9.5 million in cap space if they release Gallup with a post-June 1 designation. They'd inherit a palatable $4.35 million dead cap charge. The same savings (and dead cap) apply if he's traded after June 1, but it's hard to imagine a team going out of its way to absorb his contract.
$9.5 million is a significant chunk of money, especially with extensions looming for Micah Parsons and CeeDee Lamb. When you pair Gallup's lackluster 2022 and rollercoaster start to this season, he'd have to do a 180 in terms of production and consistency to remain with Dallas beyond 2023.
The Cowboys obviously won't cut Gallup mid-season, but it's plausible Cooks begins to see more volume than the 27-year-old coming out of the bye. Cooks logged four catches for 36 yards and the go-ahead touchdown in the fourth quarter vs the Chargers and looked explosive on a carry he took for 14 yards.
It's not crazy to think Jalen Tolbert could start getting more snaps, too. The second-year receiver is still raw, but he shined in preseason and has flashed in the regular season, turning nine targets into seven catches for 71 yards. Four of those grabs picked up first downs, so it's apparent Prescott trusts him.
Ideally, Gallup overcomes his Week 6 performance and shows flashes of the guy who caught 11 passes for 152 yards on 13 targets in Weeks 3 and 4. The writing seemingly is on the wall in regard to Gallup's future with the Cowboys, but there's plenty of time for him to get it turned around.