The Dallas Cowboys may be considering a blockbuster deal with Amari Cooper.
The Cowboys’ 27-year old wide receiver could be thinking about his last days as a Cowboys player. The four-time Pro Bowler is still one of the highest-paid players in the game. Cooper’s base salary of $20 million with a $2 million roster bonus, is the highest among all receivers.
His production is not even close to his contract. Cooper is still productive but he has fallen behind CeeDee Lamb, second-year receiver. Lamb caught a team record 79 passes from 120 targets, for 1,102 yards at a 65.8% catch percentage. Cooper, on the other hand, caught only 68 passes on just 104 targets for 865 yard on a 65.4% catch.
Cooper has three years remaining on his contract and $60 left to trade. Michelle Bruton from Bleacher Report says that the Cowboys might trade Cooper to the Kansas City Chiefs in exchange for a draft pick in a potential blockbuster scenario.
Bruton says that the Kansas City Chiefs are right in the middle of league salary caps. They have less than $23 million left to spend. Kansas City is likely to gain more cap space this offseason. They have an out on Frank Clark’s contract which has a $26.3 cap hit for 2022.
The Chiefs wanted to add a wide receiver last offseason. They were unable to sign Trent Williams, JuJu Smith Schuster, and Josh Reynolds. Patrick Mahomes made do with Tyreek Hills, Travis Kelce and Mecole Hardman in 2021. This offseason offers a few opportunities for the Chiefs to find help if they are still searching.
Bruton explains to Cowboys why they would be interested in trading their second-best receiver for a Super Bowl competitor. The simple explanation is that the Cowboys have $2 million of dead cap money if they trade Cooper after June 1. They also clear $20 million of cap space.
“Trade rumors surrounding Amari Cooper began heating up after the Dallas Cowboys’ shocking playoff loss to the 49ers,” says Bruton. “Team sources have indicated that he will be moving this offseason.
The move would be logical. Cooper’s 68 receptions and 865 yards receiving in 15 games were his lowest production since 2017. His eight touchdowns this season tied a career record. Cooper’s salary will exceed the cap next year to $22 million. However, the Cowboys may be able to clear $20 million of space and still have $2 million in dead cap if they trade Cooper after June 1.
The Cowboys currently $21.3million over the cap in 2022, which means they need to make moves. Cooper’s cap hit ranks third on the team behind DeMarcus Lawrence and Dak Prescott. Prescott won’t be leaving, and Lawrence trading or releasing Cooper would have a greater cap hit.
Without Cooper, the Chiefs would be a legitimate Super Bowl threat. The addition of the dynamic receiver will ease the pressure on Travis Kelce, who is the intermediate and short-yardage threat. Cooper, 6’1” and 215 lbs, will play well with the smaller, faster Tyreek Hill.
Although the Cowboys may be more likely to win the Super Bowl, it is unlikely that this idea will make them more competitive. The Cowboys will be able to clear some cap space and receive a valuable first-round draft pick.