Unfortunately for the Dallas Cowboys, the team lost more than just a game against the Arizona Cardinals this past Sunday.
An integral part of their offense, wide receiver Michael Gallup, is out for the rest of the season with a torn ACL.
Tests today confirmed WR Michael Gallup tore his ACL, per source.
— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) January 3, 2022
He finishes the year with 35 catches, 445 yards, and two touchdowns.
Cowboys nation thank you 🤞🏾 pic.twitter.com/E067A7HRBK
— Michael Gallup (@michael13gallup) January 4, 2021
The timing of the injury is terrible on multiple fronts for the player and the team.
Dallas has already clinched a spot in the postseason as NFC East division champions, and is hoping to make a deep run in the playoffs this year, but will do it without one of their weapons on the outside.
Because Gallup was injured so late in this season, he might miss a considerable portion of next season as well.
Adding even more insult to injury, the fourth-year Colorado State pass-catcher was set to hit free agency after this season.
It will be fascinating to see whether the Cowboys, or any other team, offers him anything close to what he would’ve garnered this offseason if healthy.
Luckily for the Cowboys, they do have considerable depth on the roster, especially on the offensive side of the ball, and will have a couple of ways to replace Gallup heading into the playoffs.
There’s been an awkward narrative unfolding around Dallas’ backfield this season, revolving around the usage of Ezekiel Elliott and Tony Pollard.
Elliott has battled a knee injury for much of the campaign, and hasn’t quite had the same level of explosiveness he’s possessed in the past.
While it never figured to happen given Elliott’s track record and standing in Dallas, many clamored for an increased workload for the younger, more dynamic Pollard.
Pollard himself had been working through a plantar fascia injury for a couple of weeks, but seems to be reminiscent of his earlier season form once again.
The backfield ratio of carries will likely remain as is, but Gallup’s absence opens up some more touches.
The former Memphis back is a solid receiver out of the backfield, and the Cowboys can choose to deploy him in the slot.
Dallas arguably had the best combination of receiving talent in the entire league with CeeDee Lamb, Amari Cooper, and Gallup.
But the fourth man on the totem pole, Cedric Wilson, is no slouch himself, and would arguably start in many three receiver sets on other teams in the NFL.
Due to Gallup missing time earlier in the season, Wilson already has experience playing a more integral role in the passing game.
He has 40 receptions for 483 yards and four touchdowns on the year, and like Pollard, brings versatility to Dallas.
Offensive coordinator Kellen Moore seems to like to feature Wilson when they run trick plays.
Wilson has thrown five career passes in the last two years, and completed them all.
That added element of unpredictability, in addition to his natural receiving talent, makes him an ideal substitute for Gallup in the stretch run.