If the Dallas Cowboys hope to compete offensively next season, they’re going to need to sign Amari Cooper because there’s not much else on the market.
As it has been well-documented thus far, wide receiver Amari Cooper is one of the biggest names on the lengthy list of unrestricted free agents for the Dallas Cowboys this offseason. He’s probably second on the list of players the Cowboys must re-sign, right behind quarterback Dak Prescott.
In his first full season with the Cowboys, Cooper emerged as a top-10 wide receiver. On the year, he caught 79 passes for 1,189 yards, ranking him eighth in the entire league (seventh among wide receivers). His eight touchdowns put him 12th in the NFL (10th among wide receivers).
Suffice to say, Amari Cooper can be considered a legitimate No. 1 receiver and he’s almost certainly due for a big payday this offseason. If not the Cowboys, some other team will surely fork over the cash.
Looking at the list of 2020 NFL free agents (via Spotrack), the pickings are pretty slim at the receiver position. Cooper would easily be one of the biggest names on the market.
His competition includes 32-year-old A.J. Green, who missed all of the 2019 season after suffering an ankle injury in the preseason. Yes, Green is a big name, but is he as explosive as he once was? Is he a better option than Amari Cooper? Probably not.
Another potential big-name unrestricted free agent would be Emmanuel Sanders, who is actually playing for the San Francisco 49ers this weekend in Super Bowl LIV. Sanders, who was traded to the 49ers midway through the season, caught 66 passes for 869 yards and five touchdowns. He had a solid season but I’m also hard-pressed to say he’s a better option at receiver than Amari Cooper.
Some of the other names on the list include Devin Funchess, Breshad Perriman, Robby Anderson and Phillip Dorsett. These are respectable players but they are no Amari Cooper. I wouldn’t trust any of them as my number one receiver.
You could look at the draft, but there are other holes the Cowboys need to fill with their picks. Why take a chance on drafting an unproven wide receiver when you already have a young Pro Bowler on your roster — one who, by the way, you traded a first-round draft pick to get?
Cooper was a little dinged up this season which may have impacted his play down the stretch, but he still managed to put up Pro Bowl numbers. Perhaps more importantly, he built a rapport with Dak Prescott, who figures to return as the starting quarterback. There’s a level of comfort there that would be hard to replace if the Cowboys were to get rid of Cooper.
Dallas is in win-now mode. Jerry Jones and the rest of the organization believe they have the talent in place. They don’t want to let that talent escape because there’s not much else on the market to replace it with.