ESPN’s Ed Werder reported Tuesday that Dallas is “working hard” to lock down Cooper with a multi-year deal, and the Pro Bowl wide receiver’s camp appears “motivated at the moment to get something done.”
“To me, present indications are he could be signed before QB Dak Prescott,” Werder tweeted.
A team source relayed to Werder the Cowboys are actively negotiating with “at least” six impending free agents ahead of the March 16 legal tampering window, a two-day stretch preceding the NFL’s official signing period.
Werder confirms that Cooper and Prescott “remain the highest priorities” because they’re both candidates for the franchise and/or transition tags. The latter is fully expected to be tagged — exclusively — by the March 15 deadline, barring a long-term agreement.
This news piggybacks off Werder’s colleague Josina Anderson’s Feb. 29 report that talks between Cooper and Dallas brass “are set to intensify very soon.”
It also counteracts recent hearsay from Bleacher Report’s Mike Freeman, who claimed teams around the league “increasingly” believe Cooper will be donning a different uniform in 2020. Freeman anticipates a “frenzy” of suitors for the 25-year-old’s services and named the Patriots as a potential landing spot.
Cooper battled through numerous lower-body injuries last season to deliver 79 catches for a career-high and Cowboys-high 1,189 yards (eighth-most in the NFL) and eight touchdowns, also a new personal best.
But for the second time since the season ended, he pledged allegiance to the club which rescued him from the Raiders.
“Listen. I love being a Dallas Cowboy,” Cooper said last week on 105.3 The Fan, via Blogging the Boys. “I love everything about it. I was just thinking about that today. I think about it almost every day, really. Just primetime games. It seems like more night games than everybody and that always feels good to a football player. You know everything. The facility, I love it here in Frisco where I stay at now. Just the aura of being a Dallas Cowboy, you can’t beat it.”
“I want to be a Dallas Cowboy for life.”
The latest estimates have Cooper securing a market-resetting deal, possibly in excess of $20 million annually. He’s likely to eclipse the historic five-year, $100 million pact that New Orleans’ Michael Thomas signed in 2019, which included $60.598 million guaranteed and a $20 million signing bonus.
The Cowboys will take roughly $77 million of salary-cap space into free agency, a chunk of which will be allocated to Cooper and Prescott, whose tag could run the club roughly $33 million.
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