When the 2020 season rolled around, the Cowboys were entering a new era at the wide receiver position. After drafting CeeDee Lamb out of Oklahoma to pair with Amari Cooper and Michael Gallup, the Cowboys had a potentially dangerous trio of receivers for the foreseeable future.

Cooper and Gallup both went over 1,100 yards in 2019. After seeing that and adding a talent like Lamb to the equation, Cooper believed the Cowboys could do what no team had done since the 2008 Arizona Cardinals, and that’s to have three 1,000-yard receivers in the same season.

“I think with me and Michael Gallup going for 1,000 yards last year, the expectation is to have three 1,000-yard receivers this year,” Cooper said per Todd Archer of ESPN.

About a month before his rookie campaign, Lamb echoed the words of Cooper as he spoke with a Cowboys legend during training camp.

“I think that’s very realistic,” Lamb told Michael Irvin during an interview on NFL Network. “That’s definitely what we’re pushing for.”

“We talk about it a lot on the field, just kind of understanding the personnel that we have, the different type of characteristics in each other’s games. Just being like, wow, it’s crazy that I actually ended up here.”

The expectations of Cooper and Lamb got off to an amazing start in the first four games of the season. Cooper was unreal with 37 receptions and 401 yards. Gallup had 275 yards over that span and Lamb racked up 309 yards, putting them all on pace for 1,000-yard seasons.

Dak Prescott had established nice chemistry with his trio of pass-catchers, and then disaster struck. Prescott suffered a compound fracture and dislocation of his right ankle in Week 5 against the New York Giants, ending his season.

Cooper went on to have another 1,100-yard output. However, Lamb came up just short of 1,000 yards with 935 and Gallup registered 843. The Cowboys used multiple backup quarterbacks throughout the season which undoubtedly affected what was looking like a historic output by their receivers.

After only four full games with his new trio of receivers, Prescott had his shot in 2021 to reestablish what he had done the year before. In the season opener against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Cooper would go off for 139 yards and two touchdowns on 13 receptions, and Lamb added another 107 yards and a score. Unfortunately, Gallup suffered a strained calf and missed the next seven games for the Cowboys.

Gallup would return against the Atlanta Falcons in Week 10, making it the first full game the Cowboys’ top three receivers played together in 2021. However, Cooper was put on the COVID list a week later before the Cowboys took on the Chiefs, which was the same game Lamb suffered a concussion. The following week against the Las Vegas Raiders, Gallup was the only of the three to play.

Cooper, Gallup, and Lamb would play the next four games alongside each other before another setback came about. Gallup would go down with a torn ACL in Week 17 against the Arizona Cardinals, putting him on the shelf for the Cowboys’ playoff run (or lack their of) and until the 2022 season.

The third season won’t be the charm for the Cowboys and their three-headed monster at wide receiver. Back in March, Cooper was traded to the Cleveland Browns for a fifth-round pick and an exchange of sixth-round picks. This meant that after all the excitement for what Prescott would be able to do with Cooper, Gallup, and Lamb at his disposal the four of them only played in 12 games together in two seasons and just nine of them saw each player finish the contest.

The Cowboys made multiple moves to counter the loss of Cooper. They signed former Pittsburgh Steelers receiver James Washington during free agency and drafted Jalen Tolbert out of South Alabama in the third round. With Gallup to miss at least the first month of the season, Washington and Tolbert will have to make an impact early.

Life in the NFL goes on no matter what, and the Cowboys will have to transition again at the wide receiver spot. However, one can’t help but wonder what could have been of the Cooper, Gallup, and Lamb experience with Prescott throwing the football.

Feature image via Shane Roper-USA TODAY Sports