The Cowboys traded a first-round draft choice to obtain receiver Amari Cooper from the Raiders in 2018. They signed Cooper to a five-year, $100 million deal in 2020.
Earlier this month, the Cowboys traded Cooper to the Browns for a fifth-round choice and a swap of sixth-round choices.
“We made a decision that that allocation should be better spent,” Cowboys owner Jerry Jones said Monday, via Michael Gehlken of The Dallas Morning News. “We made every effort to do as well as we can do with the trade.”
The Cowboys didn’t feel Cooper’s use was worth his $20 million salary for 2022. In 2021, Cooper had the highest base salary and highest cap number at his position in the league. Yet, he ranked tied for 39th in receptions, 34th in receiving yards and tied for 37th in points among non-kickers.
“We have to make sure that any one of those players are pulling as much weight as you can,” Jones said. “No. 2, you’ve got to be judicious how you add a top 10-paid player.”
The Cowboys saved $16 million in cap space, which they used to re-sign Michael Gallup and sign free agent James Washington. Gallup, when he recovers from a torn ACL, and Washington will join CeeDee Lamb in the lineup. Lamb surpassed Cooper as the team’s leading receiver in 2021.
“Optimistically, I expect (Gallup) to give us a question mark around the first game,” Jones said. “And I see a conversation that says conservatively, you would like to have a couple more games to get him out there.”