Cowboys receiver Amari Cooper signed a five-year, $100 contract before the 2020 season. It made him the league’s highest-paid receiver in 2021 with a $20 million base salary and a $22 million cap number.
Yet, Cooper tied for 39th in receptions (68), 34th in receiving yards (865) and tied for 37th in points among non-kickers (eight touchdowns). He wasn’t even the leading receiver on the team with CeeDee Lamb catching 79 passes for 1,102 yards.
Cooper also didn’t enamor himself to Cowboys owner Jerry Jones by deciding not to get vaccinated. Cooper was one of only two unvaccinated players on the active roster.
In November, Cooper tested positive for COVID-19 and missed two games. The Cowboys lost both.
On Friday, Jones didn’t hold back, expressing frustration with Cooper.
“How he fits in and he should take half the field with him when he goes and runs the field,” Jones said on 105.3 The Fan, via Mark Lane of WFAA. “Not half, that’s an exaggeration, of course, but a whole bunch of that defense should have to honor Cooper. He ought to be able to catch it when they’re going in the middle with him. Others do. You throw to people that are covered all the time in the NFL.”
That doesn’t seem to bode well for Cooper’s future in Dallas, barring a pay cut.
As a practical matter, Cooper signed a two-year, $40 million deal. It allows the Cowboys to walk away with no guaranteed money and only $6 million in dead money for 2022.
“The reason those contracts are being discussed is because they have two sides to them; one’s got it coming and the other’s got to pay it,” Jones said. ”And the one that’s got it coming is going to go out and perform usually to the level of the contract. That’s usually the way I think about those contracts.”
The Cowboys have until March 20 to decide what to do with Cooper. That’s when his $20 million salary for 2022 becomes fully guaranteed.
Cooper admitted after the loss to the 49ers last week that he doesn’t know what his future holds but said he “hopefully” remains with the Cowboys.