To say the Dallas Cowboys regret giving Michael Gallup a big-money extension coming off a torn ACL two years ago would be an understatement. That mistake was amplified by the fact they kept (and extended) Gallup over Amari Cooper, whom they traded to the Browns days after Gallup signed his contract.
We don't have the first clue of what it takes to run an NFL franchise, but giving players bulky extensions who are coming off a major injury doesn't sound like good business. The risk far outweigh the rewards, especially if said team overextends to keep said player.
That, unfortunately, is exactly what the Cowboys did with Gallup by giving him a five-year, $57.5 million extension, including $27 million guaranteed in the 2022 offseason.
Despite an entire 2022 season of evidence that Gallup might never regain his pre-injury from, Dallas went ahead and gave Terence Steele a $86.8 million extension, including $50 million guaranteed and a max value of $91.8 million, this past March.
Steele tore his ACL in Week 14 of last season and has played like one of the worst right tackles in the league through eight games this year.
Cowboys not learning from Michael Gallup disaster with Terence Steele is infuriating
Like Gallup, it brings us no joy to come down on Steele. That said, both players are getting paid handsomely and aren't living up to their contracts. It's not their fault the Cowboys jumped the gun with their extensions, but Gallup and Steele both have multiple seasons in which they sustained a high level of play.
Like 2022 with Gallup, Steele is experiencing stark regression post-ACL surgery.
According to Pro Football Focus, Steele allowed 12 pressures, seven hurries and four sacks against the Eagles. He finished with a pass-block grade of 15.0. It gets worse. Among qualified tackles this season, Steele has allowed the seventh-most pressures (29), second-most sacks (six), and fifth-most quarterback hits (five).
Steele has more than double the allowed pressures of the next Cowboys offensive linemen (Tyler Biadasz with 14). For added context, backup Chuma Edoga has allowed 11 pressures this season despite getting asked to start at the eleventh hour on two occasions when Tyron Smith was made a last-minute scratch.
The most frustrating part is that the Cowboys had a full season in 2022 to analyze Gallup's post-surgery regression and doubled down by restructuring his contract, which prevented Dallas from getting out from under the deal before 2024, and extending Steele in the form of $50 million in guaranteed money.
The silver lining to all of this? Steele is a grinder. He'll work harder than anyone to get back on track -- that's how he was able to return as quick as he did from surgery -- but that doesn't guarantee success in the NFL. Based on his current form, it's hard to have much, if any, optimism that Steele will right the ship before 2024.