The Dallas Cowboys opened the legal tampering period of 2020 NFL free agency staring a major risk in the face. Wide receiver Amari Cooper was without a contract after the team opted to use the franchise tag on quarterback Dak Prescott.
While it took until the very end of the day on Monday, the Cowboys did manage to come to terms on a new contract with their leading receiver – although it was uncomfortably quiet in the build-up. As ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported, the two sides agreed on a deal worth $100 million over five years.
It’s a massive contract, but one which was understandably widely expected. Cooper has been one of Prescott’s most reliable weapons while helping to ease the burden on running back Ezekiel Elliott.
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Amari Cooper Becomes Second-Highest Paid Wide Receiver
Once the deal becomes official at the expected start of the league year on Wednesday, Cooper will become the second-highest-paid wide receiver in the NFL, barring something drastic changing. The $20 million annual salary places him behind only Atlanta Falcons star Julio Jones, who makes an average of $22 million per year, courtesy of Over The Cap.
Even more surprising than who’s ahead of Cooper on the list is a few of the names behind him, including New Orleans Saints playmaker Michael Thomas. The 27-year-old inked a five-year deal worth $96.25 million in July of 2019 – an average of $19.25 million per year. Tyreek Hill and Odell Beckham Jr. are just behind that with an average yearly salary of $18 million.
Cooper was acquired via trade from the Oakland Raiders back in 2018 and proceeded to tally 53 catches for 725 yards and six touchdowns in nine games with Dallas in his first year with Prescott and company. He battled injuries throughout the 2019 season en route to a final stat line which featured 79 catches, 1,189 yards and eight touchdowns.
Redskins Tried to ‘Pry’ Amari Cooper From Cowboys
If the drama of entering the legal tampering period without arguably one of the NFL’s best wide receivers under contract wasn’t stressful enough, it appears the Cowboys had competition from one of their biggest rivals. According to Schefter, the Washington Redskins attempted to lure Cooper away from Dallas.
Had the Redskins prevailed in signing Cooper, it would have added another dimension to an already tense rivalry. The 25-year-old wideout torched Washington for 180 yards and two touchdowns on eight receptions during the lone matchup in 2018. Cooper combined to haul in eight passes for 136 yards and one score in the two meetings between the NFC East rivals this past season.
Following the new agreement on Cooper’s deal, it appears he’ll have a star on his helmet for the foreseeable future and continue on as a member of the modern-day version of “The Triplets.” Now whether Prescott, Elliott and Cooper can replicate the Super Bowl success of Troy Aikman, Emmitt Smith and Michael Irvin will become the next big question.