Would Cowboys trade Gallup for Hopkins? Here’s why it’s unlikely
I’ve seen enough chatter in the replies and tweets on Twitter this probably needs to be addressed. It is extremely intriguing that the Arizona Cardinals are shopping DeAndre Hopkins.
On Tuesday, I tweeted that, although it is very dream centric, it would be extremely awesome for the Cowboys to acquire Hopkins and add him as WR1a to CeeDee Lamb and combine him with Brandin Cooks and Michael Gallup to form an extremely dominant Big 4. Several replies to that tweet, as well as elsewhere on the web, indicated the Cowboys should include Gallup in the trade to get out of his, what-seemed-bad-and-still-seems-bad contract.
Ayo if the Cowboys pulled off a Hopkins trade after reworking Cooks and Dallas had a Big 4 of Lamb, Hopkins, Cooks, Gallup?????
Lawd have mercy.
I'm dreaming, but… sheesh.
— KD Drummond (@KDDrummondNFL) March 21, 2023
Following that (unrelated, obviously), SI’s Albert Breer said in a Wednesday mailbag it is more likely the Cardinals are going to receive a package closer to what Dallas offered for Cooks than the 2nd-round-plus package they were asking for. That once again has set off talks that Dallas could offer something like their fourth rounder and Gallup to get the deal done.
Only they can’t.
The issue is money, silly
Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports
In basic terms, trading Gallup removes $2.6 million of cash he’s scheduled to get off the books, but speeds up $12.9 million of deferred cap hit from bonus money he’s already received. The net loss of cap space is $10.3 million.
The Cowboys gave Gallup a two-year extension wrapped in five seasons last offseason.
The base value was $57.5 million, but with 2022 and 2023 guaranteed and a low signing bonus of just $10 million, the easy-out escape was following 2023.
However the Cowboys pulled the conversion trigger on Gallup’s $11 million guaranteed base salary to spread things out over the remaining four years. That created $6.9 million of additional bonus allocation, a.k. potential dead money, on the 2024 through 2026 caps.
Gallup’s $11 million base turned into a $1.6 million base and the $9.4 million was spread out evenly at $2.35 million per year.
Any trade of Gallup accelerates all future bonus allocations into the current league year.
So that $6.9 million from the restructure is added to the $6 million allocation from the original signing bonus; $12.9 million of bonus hit is accelerated onto the 2023 cap if Dallas trades Gallup.
Because Gallup’s base salary is just $1.6 million and he has 14 games worth of Likely-To-Be-Earned incentive money counting almost another $1 million, that means an extra $10.3 million of cap hit would accelerate onto Dallas’ cap if they traded Gallup.
(AP Photo/David J. Phillip)
Even if Dallas were able to rework Hopkins deal to a structure similar to Cooks’ revised contract, there still would be a sizable cap hit for 2023.
Cooks was originally scheduled to make $18 million for 2023, but the Texans ate $6 million before trading him. Dallas was facing a $12 million cap hit but worked out a new deal and dropped it to $6 million.
Say they worked out something as terrific with Hopkins, which I doubt because Hopkins is set to make $19.4 million and the Cardinals don’t seem inclined to do a similar favor to get rid of him. Even if Dallas could get his hit down to $6 million, adding Gallup to the trade makes that a $16 million cap hit.
That is currently more than the Cowboys’ cap space ($15.7 million).
Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports
Once June 1 hits, any transaction that is made is treated differently than right now.
If a player is traded or released after June 1, then the current year’s bonus allocation stays where it is, but future years allocations accelerate onto next year’s cap.
If the Cowboys and Cardinals waited until after the draft process is over to consummate the deal, then Gallup’s cap hit for 2024 through 2025 ($12.9 million) would land as dead money on the 2024 cap.
That would allow Dallas to move on from Gallup this year, reduce his 2023 cap hit by the salary + incentives ($2.6 million) and absorb Hopkins’ deal into their structure.
After June 1, Dallas also will have the additional $10.9 million of space from their June-1 release of Ezekiel Elliott.
Not to mention...
The Cowboys just don’t feel about Gallup the same way you do.