3 biggest disappointments from the Dallas Cowboys’ 2021 season

Kellen Moore, Dak Prescott, Dallas Cowboys (Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports)
Kellen Moore, Dak Prescott, Dallas Cowboys (Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports) /
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Dallas Cowboys
Jan 2, 2022; Arlington, Texas, USA; Dallas Cowboys wide receiver Amari Cooper (19) catches a touchdown pass in the fourth quarter against the Arizona Cardinals at AT&T Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports /

2. Amari Cooper’s numbers

When Dallas traded for Amari Cooper back in 2018, they took a lot of grief for it. The general consensus was they overpaid for him but it didn’t take long for them to prove the doubters wrong.

The entire offense turned around that season and the team went from 3-5 to 10-6 and made the playoffs. That year, Cooper had 725 yards and six touchdowns in just seven games for the Cowboys.

He followed that up with 171 receptions for 2,303 yards, and 13 touchdowns over the next two seasons. Then in 2021, the numbers declined in a big way.

Cooper had 68 catches for 865 yards and eight touchdowns. And while he voiced his displeasure in his targets and effectiveness (something he rarely ever did), EVP Stephen Jones basically put the blame on the wideout — and called him out for not living up to the five-year, $100 million extension he signed ahead of the 2020 season.

From the outside looking in, it’s hard to say who was at fault. There were long stretches where the ball just never went in the direction of No. 19 which could be the fault of Cooper, quarterback Dak Prescott, or even offensive coordinator Kellen Moore.

No matter who deserves the blame, the lack of big plays from Cooper — especially in the big moments — was a major disappointment in 2021.

Dallas clearly seemed to think the issue was primarily on Cooper given they traded him to the Cleveland Browns for just a fifth-round pick. Sure, they were in trouble with the cap, but if they truly felt Cooper could continue to be a difference-maker, they could have made it work.

Instead, they elected to put more pressure on CeeDee Lamb and hope he doesn’t disappoint in 2022.