The Dallas Cowboys could be looking at possible blockbuster deal involving Amari Cooper.
The 27-year-old wide receiver may be looking at his final days as a member of the Cowboys. The four-time Pro Bowler remains one of the most highly-compensated players in the game. In fact, Cooper’s $20 million base salary with $2 million roster bonus is the highest among all receivers.
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However, his production isn’t coming close to matching his contract. While Cooper remains productive, he has taken a clear backseat to second-year receiver CeeDee Lamb in the pecking order. Lamb caught a team-leading 79 passes on 120 targets for 1,102 yards on a 65.8% catch rate. On the other hand, Cooper caught just 68 passes on 104 targets for 865 yards on a 65.4% catch rate.
With three years and $60 remaining on his deal, Cooper could be a realistic trade option this offseason. According to Bleacher Report’s Michelle Bruton, the Cowboys could deal Cooper to the Kansas City Chiefs for a first-round draft pick in a possible blockbuster scenario.
“The Kansas City Chiefs are smack dab in the middle of the league when it comes to the salary cap,” says Bruton. “They have just under $23 million to play with presently. But this offseason, Kansas City will likely gain much more cap space. For instance, they have an out on Frank Clark’s contract, which carries a $26.3 cap hit in 2022.
Last offseason, the Chiefs were pushing to add a wide receiver in free agency. They missed out on JuJu Smith-Schuster, Trent Williams and Josh Reynolds. In 2021, Patrick Mahomes clearly made do with Tyreek Hill, Travis Kelce, Mecole Hardman and Byron Pringle. But if the Chiefs are still looking for help, this offseason presents a few chances.”
Dealing Cooper Helps Cowboys’ Salary Cap
Bruton explains why trading their second-best receiver to a fellow Super Bowl contender would peak the Cowboys’ interest. It’s simple — trading Cooper after June 1 leaves the team with just $2 million in dead cap money. At the same time, they clear up the remaining $20 million in cap space.
“After the Dallas Cowboys’ wild playoff exit to the Las Vegas Raiders, trade rumors surrounding Amari Cooper have started heating up,” says Bruton. “Those close to the team have suggested he’ll be on the move this offseason.
But the move would make sense. Cooper’s 68 receptions for 865 receiving yards in 15 games was his lowest production since 2017. On the other hand, his eight touchdowns this season tie a career high. Cooper’s salary will hit next year’s cap to the tune of $22 million, but the Cowboys could clear $20 million of space and be left with just $2 million in dead cap by trading Cooper after June 1.”
Cooper Trade Makes Too Much Sense
The Cowboys are currently $21.3 million over the cap for the 2022 season, meaning they have to make some moves. Cooper’s cap hit is the third-largest on the team, behind Dak Prescott and DeMarcus Lawrence. Prescott isn’t going anywhere and trading/releasing Lawrence would result in a larger cap hit than doing the same with Cooper.
The Chiefs are a bonafide Super Bowl threat without Cooper. But adding the dynamic receiver will only alleviate the pressure off of Travis Kelce as the short-yardage and intermediate threat. The 6-foot-1, 215-pound Cooper will also play well off of the much smaller and more speedy Tyreek Hill.
The idea may not immediately improve the Cowboys’ chances at a Super Bowl. But the move will clear up cap space and net them a very valuable first-round draft pick in return.