Amari Cooper Plans to Sign Cowboys Contract: 'If It Ain't Broke, Don't Fix It'

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured ColumnistDecember 2, 2019

Dallas Cowboys wide receiver Amari Cooper (19) lines up in the first half of an NFL football game against the New Orleans Saints in New Orleans, Sunday, Sept. 29, 2019. (AP Photo/Butch Dill)
Butch Dill/Associated Press

As he prepares to hit the free-agent market in the offseason, Amari Cooper indicated he prefers to return to the Dallas Cowboys.

Cooper told reporters Monday he's planning on re-signing with the team.

"If it ain't broke don't fix it," he said, per the Star-Telegram's Clarence Hill Jr. "Of course. Like I just said, I love it here. I want to be here. I just love this situation, my teammates. I just feel it’s the place for me."

Cooper has positioned himself as the best receiver in the 2020 free-agent class. He has caught 64 passes for 971 yards and seven touchdowns through 12 games.

His desire to stay in Dallas is understandable. In three-and-a-half years with the Oakland Raiders, he averaged 4.3 receptions and 61.2 yards per game. He has averaged 5.6 catches and 80.8 yards since his October 2018 trade to the Cowboys.

The obvious question is whether the Cowboys will be willing to give Cooper a salary commensurate with the top receivers in the league. Michael Thomas signed a five-year, $96.25 million extension with the New Orleans Saints, which probably serves as a better measuring stick than Julio Jones' three-year, $66 million extension.

Dallas has already given Jaylon Smith $64 million over five years, and Ezekiel Elliott's holdout resulted in a six-year, $90 million deal.

Throw in a possible franchise tag or long-term extension for Dak Prescott, and paying Cooper at market value may be unfeasible.

CBS Sports' Jason La Canfora reported Sunday that keeping Prescott "remains the primary objective of owner Jerry Jones." La Canfora added the franchise tag might be the Cowboys' only route to hold onto Cooper but that the team might have to use the tag on Prescott instead considering how high his next salary will be otherwise.

Cooper wants to stay, and it's probably safe to say Dallas would like to have him back. The economics of the NFL will make it difficult for Cooper to return unless he's willing to give the Cowboys a massive hometown discount.