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Amari Cooper Rumors: Cowboys 'Encouraged' by Contract Talks with WR

Tyler Conway@jtylerconwayFeatured ColumnistMarch 2, 2020

ARLINGTON, TEXAS - DECEMBER 29: Amari Cooper #19 of the Dallas Cowboys makes a catch while being guarded by Jimmy Moreland #32 of the Washington Redskins in the second quarter in the game at AT&T Stadium on December 29, 2019 in Arlington, Texas. (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

The Dallas Cowboys and wide receiver Amari Cooper have been in negotiations for a contract extension, and the team is reportedly "encouraged" a deal could get done.

Dan Graziano and Jeremy Fowler of ESPN reported the latest on the state of the talks, which have gone into crunch time with free agency on the horizon. Dallas is planning to use the franchise tag on Dak Prescott, which makes the timing of Cooper's negotiations all the more important.

As it stands currently, the Cowboys could use their franchise tag on Prescott and their transition tag on Cooper. However, if the players ratify a new collective bargaining agreement ahead of the franchise/transition deadline, Dallas will only be allowed to use one of the tags.

Cooper would then likely hit unrestricted free agency. It is, however, considered unlikely that the CBA is ratified before the March 12 deadline. 

Cooper recorded 79 receptions for 1,189 yards and eight touchdowns in 2019, making his fourth Pro Bowl team. He managed to play in all 16 games despite nagging injuries, continuing to emerge as Prescott's favorite target in the NFL's top offense.

The Cowboys understandably have little interest in allowing Cooper to leave. They invested a first-round pick trading for him during the 2018 season and have no natural replacement on the roster. Michael Gallup had his first 1,000-yard season in 2019, but his skill set works best as a secondary downfield target. Cooper and Gallup provide a near-perfect complement for Prescott.

Cooper's contract demands are unclear at this point, though he likely wants to be paid among the highest-paid players at his position. The $18 million franchise tag may be the starting point for negotiations. 

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