NFL Execs Supply ‘Unfiltered’ Criticism of Amari Cooper’s $100M Cowboys Deal

Amari Cooper

Getty Amari Cooper

The Athletic’s Mike Sando recently took the temperature of NFL shot-callers who provided their “unfiltered” thoughts on every team’s biggest free-agent moves.

An unnamed exec stopped short of ripping the Dallas Cowboys for handing wide receiver Amari Cooper a five-year, $100 million extension at the onset of the league’s signing period.

But they didn’t exactly praise the megadeal, either.

“I’m always suspicious when I hear a guy like Cooper took less money than he could have got from another team when the dollars are at the top of the market. I’m not convinced the Redskins were willing to pay $20 million a year. Teams get bluffed in free agency. You have to be willing to say, ‘Here is what we are willing to do.’ Amari Cooper, $20 million? To me, it should be no more than $15 million with all the receivers in the draft and what the veteran receivers were getting in free agency.”

Called into question above are multiple reports which claimed Cooper turned down “significantly” more money from the NFC East-rival Washington Redskins, who supposedly submitted a proposal “in the $22 million-per-year range” that would have put him right there with Julio (Jones) as the sport’s highest-paid receiver.

Instead, Cooper accepted Dallas’ offer: $100 million, with $60 million guaranteed — an average annual value of $20 million, making him the second-richest WR behind Atlanta’s Julio Jones.

Such windfalls are usually reserved for the elite who prove their worth game in and game out. Sando spoke to a different exec that places the Pro Bowl pass-catcher in a tier below, strongly intimating the Cowboys blew their money on an undeserving player.

“It comes back down to, how many guys are really difference makers? That is who you pay the top of the market to. I’m sorry, Amari Cooper helps, but he does not tilt the field. He has not shown up consistently. You can say a lot of negative things about Antonio Brown, but he was a difference maker.”

Across 25 games with the Cowboys, following his October 2018 arrival from the then-Oakland Raiders, Cooper has recorded 132 receptions for 1,914 yards (14.5 yards per catch) and 14 touchdowns. He led the squad last season with 1,189 yards and eight scores on 79 grabs, making all 16 starts despite battling multiple lower-leg and foot injuries.

One could debate the merits of Cooper’s newfound wealth, but it’s inarguable that a $20 million-per-year sticker price is par for the course. It’s market value for a plug-and-play WR1 who single-handily fast-tracked the development of franchise(-tagged) quarterback Dak Prescott, and the team was absolutely correct in not letting him walk after surrendering a first-round pick for his services.

At the end of the day, with the ink long dry, opinions are like … well, you know the rest.

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