Amari Cooper will soon be a free agent. Do the Dallas Cowboys odds of winning the Super Bowl increase if they don’t re-sign on the talented wide receiver?
Cooper’s stats in a Cowboys uniform suggest that he is a top-tier receiver. In 2019, he had 79 receptions for 1,189 yards. In nine games with the Cowboys in 2018, he had 53 receptions for 725 yards.
Cooper has averaged 5.3 receptions for nearly 77 yards per game in the 25 games he has suited up for America’s Team. His production places him in the top ten wide receivers in the league.
Cooper will soon be an unrestricted free agent. Most feel it is a foregone conclusion that the Cowboys should and will re-sign him.
The size of Cooper’s next contract won’t be known until the ink dries on the paper. It is safe to assume that he will be looking at Chiefs wide receiver Sammy Watkins as his absolute floor.
Watkins signed a three-year deal for $48 million before the 2018 season. The salary cap that season was $177.2 million. Watkins average per year at time of signing was nine percent of the cap.
With that in mind, an equivalent contract for Cooper would have a floor of $18 million. Here are a few reasons why spending nearly ten percent of valuable cap space on a wide receiver might not be so simple.
- Of the top 20 receivers by receiving yards in 2019, only five made the playoffs: Travis Kelce, Michael Thomas, DeAndre Hopkins, Stefon Diggs and Julian Edelman.
- Since the new CBA was signed in advance of the 2011 season, only one Super Bowl winning receiver, Demaryius Thomas, had a salary cap hit greater than nine percent according to spotrac.com.
- Since the new CBA was signed, only six Super Bowl winning receivers had cap hits greater than five percent according to spotrac.com.
- The San Francisco 49ers top seven cap hits go to their quarterback, their left tackle, a cornerback and four defensive ends.
- The Kansas City Chiefs, with their quarterback in the third year of his rookie deal, have a wide receiver, tight end, guard, left tackle, right tackle, defensive end and free safety as their top seven.
The Cowboys have also prioritized signing quarterback Dak Prescott to a team-friendly deal. His deal will be much more expensive than Cooper’s.
Dallas already has five players with salary cap hits larger than $10 million or five percent for the 2020 season. Prescott would make six and a Cooper deal would be seven. No team in the new collective bargaining agreement era has had that many high-priced players and won the Super Bowl.
The Dallas Cowboys would be better served by finding two receivers that make $9 million per year than one receiver making $18 million. Maybe the Cowboys hope to make history but the undeniable truths of the salary cap will make it very difficult for the Cowboys to reach the desired end state if they sign Amari Cooper.