Cowboys Rumors: Amari Cooper 'Cutting It Close' for Day 1 of Camp Amid Injury Rehab

Tim Daniels@@TimDanielsBRFeatured Columnist IVJuly 7, 2021

ARLINGTON, TEXAS - NOVEMBER 26: Amari Cooper #19 of the Dallas Cowboys celebrates after making a reception for a touchdown during the second quarter of a game against the Washington Football Team at AT&T Stadium on November 26, 2020 in Arlington, Texas. (Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images)
Tom Pennington/Getty Images

Dallas Cowboys wide receiver Amari Cooper is reportedly "cutting it close" as he tries to wrap up his recovery from offseason ankle surgery before the team's first training camp practice on July 22.

Mike Fisher of CowboysSI.com reported Wednesday the Cowboys remain "unconcerned about any long-term issues" despite the short-term uncertainty.

In early June, Ian Rapoport of NFL Network reported Cooper was dealing with an "irritation" in his ankle that prevented him from running.

"As far as Amari, Amari has the ankle that he's still working through," Cowboys head coach McCarthy said at the time. "He won't participate the rest of the minicamp. I'm just hopeful he'll be ready for training camp."

Cooper was his typically productive self in 2020. He recorded a career-high 92 catches for 1,114 yards and five touchdowns while playing in all 16 games in his first season after signing a five-year, $100 million contract extension with Dallas.

The 27-year-old Miami native has topped 1,000 receiving yards each of the past three years and has tallied 19 touchdowns in 41 appearances since joining the Cowboys in a 2018 midseason trade from the Las Vegas Raiders.

"Amari Cooper is one of the most talented football players we've ever had on the Dallas Cowboys," owner Jerry Jones told Rob Phillips of the team's official website in January. "He has unlimited potential to go from here to a higher level. I think his surgery is going to allow him to do that. I think all of this is an experience-builder."

Dallas has enough receiving depth to bring Cooper along slowly. Michael Gallup and CeeDee Lamb are a terrific wideout duo, and tight end Dalton Schultz is capable of taking on a heavier workload in the red zone.

Meanwhile, Cedrick Wilson and Noah Brown would likely compete for the extra snaps in three-wide sets with the first-team offense.

The Cowboys' offense is at its best when Cooper is operating as the attention-grabbing top target, creating a lot of single-coverage opportunities for Gallup and Lamb, though. So any type of setback or long-term absence would limit the unit's overall upside.

A more comprehensive update on Cooper's availability should come when the team opens training camp in two weeks.

Dallas kicks off the preseason with the Hall of Fame Game against the Pittsburgh Steelers on Aug. 5.