Michael Gallup's Raiders contract proves how foolish Cowboys' Jerry Jones is

New England Patriots v Dallas Cowboys
New England Patriots v Dallas Cowboys / Sam Hodde/GettyImages

This week has been all about reunions for the Dallas Cowboys. After surprisingly choosing to not draft a running back, the Cowboys signed Ezekiel Elliott to a one-year contract. Shortly thereafter, they agreed to terms with another old friend in linebacker Damien Wilson.

As it turns out, the full band won't be getting back together after Michael Gallup signed a one-year contract with the Las Vegas Raiders.

ESPN's Todd Archer actually floated the idea of Gallup returning to Dallas after the Elliott news broke. If the Cowboys are bringing Zeke back, why not kick the tires on Gallup? Even though Gallup likely could've been had for around the same price as Elliott, fans vehemently opposed the idea after Gallup was a non-factor in his final season before getting released.

if you can believe it, the raw terms of Elliott and Gallup's contracts are identical. Gallup's deal with the Raiders is worth up to $3 million. That is a patently awful look for Jerry Jones given what he paid Gallup on his extension three years ago.

Michael Gallup's Raiders contract is embarrassing for Cowboys owner Jerry Jones

The Amari Cooper variable makes this an even worse look for Jones, but is there any sense in revisiting that disaster? Everyone knew in the moment that picking Gallup over Cooper was a mistake, and it has aged worse than the Cowboys' front office could have ever imagined.

Coming off a torn ACL suffered in the 2021 season, Gallup inked a five-year extension worth up to $62.5 million that March. He got a $10 million signing bonus and $27 million guaranteed. If we took his $11.5 million annual salary and compared it to the current WR market, he'd be in the ballpark of D'Andre Hopkins, Jakobi Meyers, Mike Williams, ex-teammate Brandin Cooks and Gabe Davis.

Once upon a time, Gallup was as effective (or close to it) as those receivers. He broke out with a 1,110-yard season on 66 catches in 2019 and followed that with a respectable 59 catches and 843 yards in 2020. He was on pace to post similar numbers in '21 before his ACL injury.

Gallup never found his stride again post-surgery. Over the last two seasons, Gallup logged a combined 74 catches for 842 yards and six TDs. He averaged less than 28 yards per game and caught 56.2% of his targets. Perhaps a perfect encapsulation of Gallup's decline is that Cowboys quarterbacks posted a 73.9 passer rating when targeting him since 2022.

In a best-case scenario, Gallup will be the fourth receiving option on the Raiders offense. Davante Adams, Jakobi Meyers, second-year tight end Michael Mayer and rookie first-round TE Brock Bowers could all see more targets than the ex-Cowboy when the sun sets on the 2024 season.

Gallup's new $3 million salary is near the vet minimum and equivalent to what most receivers are making on their rookie contracts. Jones thinking he was worth almost $12 million per year and worth keeping over the great Amari Cooper is one of the worst front office gaffes in recent Cowboys history.

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