Cowboys News: Amari Cooper Says He Wants to Stay in Dallas Ahead of Free Agency

Mike Chiari@mikechiariFeatured ColumnistDecember 27, 2019

Dallas Cowboys wide receiver Amari Cooper (19) during an NFL football game against the Los Angeles Rams in Arlington, Texas, Sunday, Dec. 15, 2019 (AP Photo/Roger Steinman)
Roger Steinman/Associated Press

With free agency looming, wide receiver Amari Cooper expressed his desire to remain with the Dallas Cowboys on Friday.

According to David Moore of the Dallas Morning News, one of the biggest reasons why Cooper wants to return to the Cowboys is the fact that he enjoys playing with quarterback Dak Prescott.

Cooper and Prescott are the Cowboys' two biggest pending free agents, but it seems likely that Dallas will place the franchise tag on Dak if it is unable to sign him to a long-term deal.

In 15 games this season, Cooper has made 75 catches for 1,097 yards and eight touchdowns as Prescott's No. 1 target.

Dallas acquired Cooper in a trade with the Oakland Raiders last season, and he made an instant impact on the offense. In nine games, Cooper registered 53 receptions for 725 yards and six touchdowns and helped the Cowboys win the NFC East.

If the Cowboys are going to repeat that feat this season, they must beat the Washington Redskins on Sunday and get help in the form of the New York Giants upsetting the Philadelphia Eagles after Dallas lost to Philly last week.

Cooper had just four catches for 24 yards in the loss to the Eagles, which underscored his recent struggles. Cooper has not reached the 100-yard mark in a game since Week 10, and he has just one touchdown catch in his past six games as well.

Injuries have plagued the fifth-year wideout all season long, though, and he has been noticeably hampered at times by knee, quad, ankle and heel ailments.

Even with those issues, Cooper is the top pass-catcher for an offense that ranks first in the NFL in total yards and eighth in points.

Keeping him would undoubtedly be an ideal scenario for the Cowboys, but with Prescott needing a new deal and running back Ezekiel Elliott, linebacker Jaylon Smith and offensive tackle La'el Collins having already signed extensions, it is unclear if there will be enough available money to sign Cooper.

If Cooper does sign elsewhere, No. 2 receiver Michael Gallup will be elevated to No. 1 status after hauling in 61 catches for 1,009 yards and three touchdowns in 13 games.

Although Cooper clearly has a strong rapport with Prescott, his history of production and age (25) suggest that he will land a monster deal in free agency even if the Cowboys can't afford him.