The injury bug has been very unkind to the Dallas Cowboys. The entire offense, at nearly every position, has taken major blows over the past several months. One specific player whose return has been anxiously awaited is wide receiver Michael Gallup.
Gallup tore his ACL in Week 17 against the Arizona Cardinals last year. Despite his injury, Dallas clearly had more faith in him than other receivers that were on the roster at the time. The front office gave him a five-year, $62.5 million extension before he was even able to start serious rehab after his ACL surgery.
The rumors on when he’d be able to return ranged from as early as training camp to as late as midseason. But a big sign about his progress was that the Cowboys chose not the put the newly-extended receiver on the PUP list before the start of the regular season. Any player on the PUP list is required to miss at least four games, implying the team felt Gallup could be back sooner than Week 4. The front office knowingly chose to have the WR take up a 53-man roster spot despite his injury.
Could Week 3 be the return of Gallup? There are many hints pointing that way. For starters, Mike McCarthy and the Joneses have been saying for weeks how their WR is making excellent progress and is ahead of schedule. They even refused to decline the idea of him playing in Week 1, which was likely more playing the game rather than a serious threat.
While we do not want the 26-year-old to be rushed back too soon, this wide receiver corps could certainly use a boost. On Wednesday, the head coach said that Gallup is set to “take a full slate of reps this week,” which is the first time he will do since his injury in January. The first two weeks of the season, the WR was deemed a “limited participant” in practice settings.
Cowboys showing many signs that point to Michael Gallup potentially playing in Week 3
Another big factor was the team’s decision to release wide receiver Dennis Houston. The former Cowboys UDFA actually beat out 2022 third-round pick Jalen Tolbert to get a starting WR spot for the first two weeks of the season. Houston had an incredibly strong showing in camp and preseason, but he only had two receptions for 16 yards in the first two weeks.
Letting Houston go initially suggested that maybe Tolbert was finally ready to suit up for this team. But after all we are hearing about Gallup, maybe the spot is really for the fifth-year receiver. McCarthy admitted the team is giving the receiver “every opportunity” to be able to play on Monday night.
While we certainly hope Gallup is ready and prepared to play on Monday, there are some important things to remember. In his first game back after months of being away from full-force NFL football, it’s not realistic to expect Gallup to look like his old self the first time he steps back onto the field. The other factor to take into account is that, if the Cowboys are smart, they will put him on some type of pitch count to keep him safe and healthy and not overdo things.
We should know more throughout the week, but getting Gallup back on this team would be great news for the Cowboys. Barring any major setbacks, we may see No. 13 at MetLife Stadium on Monday night!