Cowboys Rumors: Amari Cooper Expected to Stay in DAL Despite Buzz About Release

Adam WellsJanuary 26, 2022

Dallas Cowboys wide receiver Amari Cooper runs with the ball after making a catch against the Philadelphia Eagles during the first half of an NFL football game between the Philadelphia Eagles and the Dallas Cowboys, Saturday, Jan. 8, 2022, in Philadelphia. The Cowboys won 51-26. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez)
AP Photo/Julio Cortez

Despite facing salary-cap questions heading into the offseason, there is an expectation around the NFL that Amari Cooper will remain with the Dallas Cowboys. 

Pro Football Network's Aaron Wilson cited multiple league sources who think the Cowboys will keep the wide receiver, but the team hasn't made a final decision on what it wants to do with the four-time Pro Bowler. 

Per Spotrac, the Cowboys are currently $21.3 million over the 2022 cap. Randy Gregory, Jayron Kearse, Dalton Schultz and Michael Gallup are among their notable players eligible for free agency. 

In October, ESPN's Todd Archer cited the need for the Cowboys to win big this season because of their cap situation. 

Archer did note Dallas could fix some of its issues by restructuring Dak Prescott's deal to create "as much as $15 million" in cap space. 

Cooper is set to have the third-highest cap hit among wide receivers in 2022 at $22 million. Only DeAndre Hopkins of the Arizona Cardinals ($25.05 million) and Michael Thomas of the New Orleans Saints ($24.7 million) will count more against the cap. 

Cowboys owner Jerry Jones seemed to express frustration with Cooper's performance this season during a recent appearance on 105.3 The Fan (h/t NFL.com's Adam Maya): 

"I don't have any comment on Cooper's contract. I thought that the way we were playing early when we did make something happen, I thought Cooper had a big part of it. And I'm not being trite. But how he fits in, he should take half the field with him when he runs a route. Not half—half is an exaggeration, of course, but a whole bunch of that defense should have to honor Cooper. And he ought to be able to catch it in the middle of when they're going with him."

The Cowboys signed Cooper to a five-year, $100 million extension in March 2020. The 27-year-old has been a steady presence for the offense since being acquired from the Oakland Raiders midway through the 2018 season. 

Cooper has averaged 79.7 receptions, 1,056 yards and seven touchdowns per season in his three full years with Dallas from 2019-21. 

The Cowboys won the NFC East with a 12-5 record during the regular season but lost to the San Francisco 49ers 23-17 in the NFC Wild Card Game on Jan. 16.