UPDATE: Amari Cooper has re-upped with the Dallas Cowboys on a 5-year $100 million deal despite getting a larger offer from Washington. Dak Prescott has the francise tag, so even if they don’t get a long-term deal done with Prescott, Cooper is set up for another strong season in 2020.
Amari Cooper intends to re-sign with the Dallas Cowboys on a 5-year, $100 million deal, league sources tell ESPN.— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) March 17, 2020
We could be looking at one of the biggest free agency periods in recent memory if some of the notable names actually hit the open market. Tom Brady, Drew Brees, and Derrick Henry are just a few of the big names set to hit unrestricted free agency when the new league year opens on March 18th. One or more stands a good chance of signing a contract with their current team before then, but there is a chance one or more is taking calls when the tampering period opens on March 16th.
2019 in review
Cooper was a key piece of a Cowboys offense that led the NFL in yards per play and yards per passing attempt. Cooper posted solid numbers across the board, ranking in the top 20 among wide receivers in targets (119) and catches (79). Cooper ranked seventh in receiving yards (1,189) and receiving TDs (eight) and averaged about 15 yards per reception, better than the league average of about 11.5 yards per reception. As far as more advanced stats go, Cooper led the Cowboys in average air yards per target and the percentage of the team’s total air yards. He finished seventh among WR in standard fantasy scoring and 10th among WR in PPR fantasy scoring. Cooper’s performance earned him a Pro Bowl selection for the fourth time in his career.
Cooper should be in high demand if he reaches the open market. Two teams that stand out most that could benefit from acquiring Cooper are the Cardinals and Eagles. For Arizona, Cooper would be an excellent fit with rising QB Kyler Murray in an offensive scheme that favors passing. For Philadelphia, it’s unclear if the Eagles will elect to bring WR Alshon Jeffery back for 2020, and multiple injuries to WRs left the Eagles horribly thin at the receiver position in 2019. Pairing Cooper with elite pass-catching tight end Zach Ertz would give QB Carson Wentz two dynamic receiving options, with WR DeSean Jackson also a threat to stretch the field.
Do the Cowboys want to keep him?
The Cowboys want to keep Cooper, but they have a more demanding free agent to take care of first. QB Dak Prescott is an unrestricted free agent, and while the Cowboys and Prescott both want to reach a long-term agreement, the two sides have been unable to agree on Prescott’s value. If this continues, the Cowboys are expected to use the franchise tag on Prescott to keep him in Dallas. Placing the franchise tag on Prescott would leave one less way for the Cowboys to retain Cooper, but they still have the option of using the transition tag on Cooper if they can’t reach a long-term agreement, which would allow them to match offers from other teams.
Despite bringing in a new head coach in Mike McCarthy for 2020, the Cowboys are keeping offensive coordinator Kellen Moore in his same role, so the offense may not change significantly despite the coaching change. Dallas’ offense was excellent through the air last year, leading the league in yards gained per pass attempt and finishing second in total passing yards. Staying in Dallas would be good for Cooper’s fantasy value, although landing in a spot like Arizona could be even more appealing. Coach Kliff Kingsbury’s scheme has a history of being played at a fast pace with high passing volume, which could make Cooper a candidate for boosted target volume if he ends up there.
There are no Cooper rumors as of yet.