Cowboys' Stephen Jones Suggests Frustration with Amari Cooper's Production

Rob Goldberg@@TheRobGoldbergFeatured Columnist IVFebruary 2, 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, Monday, Jan. 10, 2022, in Philadelphia. The Cowboys won 51-26. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez)
AP Photo/Julio Cortez

Dallas Cowboys executive vice president Stephen Jones expected more out of wide receiver Amari Cooper after he signed a five-year, $100 million extension two years ago.

"Well, it's sometimes not all on the receiver too. It's scheme. It's getting the receiver the ball, the touches, the targets that he needs," Jones told reporters Tuesday. "But if you're gonna pay somebody a lot of money, you want them to be the best at what they do."

Cooper's $20 million base salary in 2021 was the highest among receivers, per Spotrac, but he only finished with 68 receptions for 865 yards and eight touchdowns in 15 games.

"Once you pay that player a lot of money, then with that comes high expectations," Jones added. "And they know that. These players know that."

This comes after Cowboys owner Jerry Jones shared similar frustrations with Cooper.

"A whole bunch of that defense should have to honor Cooper," Jerry Jones said on 105.3 The Fan last month, via Charean Williams of Pro Football Talk. "He ought to be able to catch it when they're going in the middle with him. Others do. You throw to people that are covered all the time in the NFL."

The emergence of CeeDee Lamb has also cut into Cooper's production, resulting in just 104 targets for the veteran last season, the same as tight end Dalton Schultz. Cooper had 130 targets in 2020 when he had a career-high 92 receptions.

Cooper also averaged just 8.3 yards per target in 2021. He averaged 10.0 yards per target when he earned his last Pro Bowl selection in 2019, right before signing his new deal.

It doesn't bode well for his future in Dallas, especially considering the Cowboys can save $16 million against the cap by trading or releasing him, per Spotrac. Only $40 million of the initial $100 million was guaranteed at signing.