Ahead of March, the Dallas Cowboys had 24 players set to hit free agency. As of March 9, Dalton Schultz and Noah Brown will be returning to the team with Schultz on the tag and Brown on a one-year extension. That leaves 22 other decisions to make along with cap casualties. Some players on the list will be easy goodbyes, but others are impact players who other teams would be lucky to have.
Pro Football Network (PFN) recognized two of those names in a recent article listing their top 25 free agents left on the market after the franchise tag window. The top five on that list (in order) were JC Jackson, Tyrann Mathieu, Chandler Jones, Marcus Williams, and Von Miller. The two Cowboys on the list were DE Randy Gregory (No. 10) and WR Michael Gallup (No. 20). This makes a ton of sense. Most felt Gregory, Gallup, and Schultz were the top priorities on the initial list.
The edge rusher is highly touted for his lateral movement, quickness, and ability to pressure the quarterback efficiently. Gregory had 6.0 sacks, four tackles for loss, 12 QB hurries, 17 QB hits, and 29 QB pressures. Although the wide receiver was injured for much of the 2021 season, there is no denying his elite acrobatic and play-making abilities. Gallup even caught the touchdown that ended up tearing his ACL.
The Cowboys’ front office clearly believes in these players as well and has made it clear that they want to keep both of them. The problem is whether they can afford to or not. It seems fair to associate the initial rumors of cutting DE DeMarcus Lawrence and WR Amari Cooper with the idea of keeping the two free agents. Cooper is now, of course, already gone, saving money for a future WR, but Lawrence’s future is yet to be determined. However, several reports this week said that the Cowboys are “working on a long-term deal” with Gallup. Hopefully, trading Cooper helps solidify the deal with Gallup.
Cowboys WR Michael Gallup and DE Randy Gregory made the top 25 free agent list written by Pro Football Network
PFN recognized that Gregory has bulked up over the years to help with his pass rush. The outlet also mentioned that some of the aspects that make him a questionable sign (off-the-field suspensions) are part of the reason he is still durable at 30 years old. While Gregory is a definite fan favorite, the Cowboys would need to clear some serious cap space to keep the edge rusher around.
Gallup joins Odell Beckham Jr., Allen Robinson, and Christian Kirk as wideouts to make the list. PFN says that teams will “covet Gallup’s downfield playmaking ability and toe-drag swag.” The reality is that Dallas got lucky with Gallup getting injured. Although the reports are that the receiver is expected to make a full recovery by August, his multiple injuries this season could allow the Cowboys to get him at a discounted price.
In other words, they’d get to pay less for Gallup than they would have needed to pay Cooper if they kept him. Given both Stephen and Jerry Jones’s outright criticism of Cooper, it was pretty easy to assume Cooper was getting the boot. If the Cowboys can’t keep Gallup or Gregory, any other NFL team will be happy to have them.