Cowboys’ Jerry Jones Criticizes Amari Cooper in Presser: ‘Half-A** Availability’

Amari Cooper

Getty Former Dallas Cowboys receiver Amari Cooper scores a touchdown.

Jerry Jones made it fairly clear why the Dallas Cowboys traded Amari Cooper to the Cleveland Browns past offseason at a recent press conference.

Dallas dealt Cooper and a 2022 fifth-round pick to Cleveland in exchange for selections in the fifth and sixth rounds of the 2022 NFL draft. The deal helped the Cowboys get a huge contract off the books, but it also meant the departure of one of their top receivers.

According to Jones, it’s all about “availability.” During his July 26 press conference, the Cowboys owner addressed Cooper and other players’ departures.

“We lost three really high-profile players,” Jones started, talking about Cooper, DE Randy Gregory, and T La’el Collins. “Those players were in the top 10 of players who make the most money. When you get in that spot, I can tell you, your standards go up. Your bar is higher. Your conduct is higher. Your attention to the team is higher, not just your own performance, but everything. When you have that kind of responsibility, when you have that much of the financial pie. What I’m trying to say is those decisions were made more about availability than ability. They were made as how you arrived at not being available at times… But more important than anything is these decisions that we made, I made, relative to top players not being here had everything to do with their availability and my concern about their availability. For instance, you could have the exact same player, and if you were paying him one thing, about 10-15% of what you’re looking at paying him, then you can do that all day long. And you can have half-a** availability, when you’re paying him 10-15%. The day you’re called upon to raise that up about 10 times, then all of a sudden you start questioning whether or not availability should be more than the next.”

It’s a protracted, deep explanation from Jones, who then followed up the statement by saying he isn’t trying to “demean” players. That may be the case, but the fact of the matter is that this is a direct call-out of Cooper’s availability for the team.

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Cooper Misses Time with Cowboys in 2021

Pro Football Reference shows that Cooper had 865 receiving yards and eight touchdowns in 2021, which is a decent year. However, his ceiling was limited due to his contraction of COVID-19.

The former Alabama Crimson Tide star missed two games in Weeks 11 and 12 after testing positive and being placed on the team’s reserve list. Cooper refused the COVID-19 vaccination, which actually led to a post-regular season fine from the league. The current Browns WR had to pay $14,650 to the NFL.

Cooper made $20 million in 2021, so the combination of his “unavailability” and this most recent dip in production made for the perfect storm to deal the 28-year-old.

Gregory, Collins Also on Receiving End of Jones’ Message

Jones mentioned “three high-profile players” in his lengthy explanation, grouping in Cooper with Gregory and Collins. The difference between Cooper and the other two star’s departures is the manner in which they happened.

Collins was always an easy option to cut, due to his $50 million contract and that Terence Steele had proven himself worthy of the starting left tackle job. The Cowboys saved money and moved on from a player that has probably seen his best days.

Gregory, on the other hand, was much different. Dallas even announced they struck a deal with Gregory on social media, before a last-second issue led to the defensive end signing with the Denver Broncos.

The Cowboys clearly wanted Gregory, but lost out due to some form of setback.