Quiet, reserved, talented. All those words could be used to describe Dallas Cowboys wide receiver Amari Cooper — an NFL star who would rather pull up for a good game of chess than a night out on the town.
His demeanor reminds many of stoic NBA superstar Kawhi Leonard, the crown jewel of this year’s NBA free agency class. Cooper was asked by Jon Machota of the Dallas Morning News about the comparisons between he and Leonard that some have made.
“It’s not my first time hearing that,” Cooper said of the comparison. “A lot of people compare me to him. I don’t know him personally, but from afar, he seems like the type of guy that just lets his game do the talking,” Cooper said. “And from a guy who really doesn’t talk much, you never really know much about him. He’s mysterious. You never really know how motivated he is to win. But I can. I can see it.
“I saw that after he won the championship, he was elated. He was really happy about that. He kind of let his emotions show a little bit more because only then was he satisfied. It didn’t matter to him what he was accomplishing during the regular season or during the playoffs, you could tell he really wasn’t content with that, until he actually got the whole job done. From that standpoint, I think we’re relatable.”
Cooper is coming off of a Pro Bowl season where he was lights out after a trade to the Cowboys. It’s yet another similarity between Cooper and Leonard, who both excelled in their new homes following a trade. Leonard, of course, recently led the Toronto Raptors to the NBA title.
Amari Cooper Contract Talks with Dallas Cowboys
Cooper — who recently celebrated his 25th birthday — racked up 725 yards and six touchdowns receiving in just nine games with the Cowboys last season. That included a 217-yard, three touchdown performance against NFC East rival Philadelphia. The Alabama product also scored the winning touchdown in that game, breaking out of his usually unemotional shell on the field.
Cooper is among the Dallas Cowboys’ players seeking extensions this offseason. According to Calvin Watkins of The Athletic, Cooper is looking for one of the largest contracts at the WR position — between $14-16 million.
Currently, Cleveland Browns wide receiver Odell Beckham has the highest average salary at $18 million per year, and also collected the largest guarantee ($65 million). The Giants inked Beckham to that deal last year before shipping him off to Cleveland. Those numbers could be surpassed by Thomas, yet again adjusting the market for Cooper.
Cooper has said he’s not stressing about a new deal or what other people are getting paid.
“I really want to play well. I think everything starts with that,” Cooper told Machota on Monday. “If you play good football, you’re going to be around a long time. And I do want to be a Dallas Cowboy for a long time.”
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