Amari Cooper

Ron Rivera: Redskins Wanted Amari Cooper

The Redskins didn’t pry Amari Cooper away from their divisional rivals this offseason, but it wasn’t for a lack of trying. In a virtual presser on Tuesday, head coach Ron Rivera made it known that he was aggressive in his pursuit of the Cowboys star.

Amari was somebody we chased hard all the way until the end,” Rivera said (Twitter link via The Team 980). “We would’ve loved to have him a part of what we’re trying to do here. He would’ve been a great veteran presence.

The Redskins made their pitch to Cooper before he re-signed with the Cowboys on a five-year, $100MM extension. Had they landed him, Cooper would have made an immediate impact – the Redskins’ current group has a serious drop-off after rising sophomore Terry McLaurin. After they said farewell to Paul Richardson and lost tight ends Jordan Reed and Vernon Davis, there’s a clear need for pass-catchers in D.C.

Ultimately, the Redskins could not compete with the Cowboys in this battle, due in large part to taxes. In Texas, Cooper doesn’t have to pay any state income tax, and those percentage points make a huge difference when it comes to a nine-figure contract.

Last year, Cooper set career-highs in receiving yards (1,189) and TDs (eight), his first full season in Dallas. That performance landed him his fourth career Pro Bowl nod.

The former first-round pick won’t turn 26 until June, so his very best football should still be ahead of him. The Cowboys certainly hope that’s the case – his five-year deal takes him through 2024 and includes $60MM in guaranteed cash.

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Contract Details: Cooper, Hargrave, Littleton

Jonathan Bostic, (Washington): two-years, $5MM, $1.75MM guaranteed; $1.25MM signing bonus; salaries 2020: $960k ($500k guaranteed), 2021: $1.69MM; $500k roster bonus in 2020, $200k in non-guaranteed weekly roster bonuses in 2020, $400k in non-guaranteed weekly roster bonuses in 2021, an additional $800k in annual incentives available as well, according to John Keim of ESPN.

Amari Cooper, (Cowboys): five-years, $100MM deal, $60MM guaranteed; $10MM signing bonus; salaries 2020: $10MM (fully guaranteed), 2021: $20MM (fully guaranteed), 2022: $20MM (guaranteed for injury until March 2022), 2023: $20MM, 2024: $20MM, according to Tom Pelissero of NFL.com.

Tyeler Davison, (Falcons): three-years, $12MM, $4.55MM guaranteed; $3.64MM signing bonus; salaries 2020: $910k (fully guaranteed), 2021: $3.2MM, 2022: $3.45MM; $200k in non-guaranteed weekly roster bonuses in 2020, $250k in non-guaranteed weekly roster bonuses in 2021, $350k in non-guaranteed weekly roster bonuses in 2022, according to Vaughn McClure of ESPN.

George Fant, (Jets): three-years, $27.3MM, $8.85MM guaranteed; $3MM signing bonus; salaries 2020: $4.6MM (fully guaranteed), 2021: $8MM, 2022: $9.25MM; $1.25MM guaranteed roster bonus in 2020, $400k non-guaranteed weekly roster bonuses from 2020-2022, according to Rich Cimini of ESPN.

Javon Hargrave, (Eagles): three-years, $39MM, $26MM guaranteed; $11.75MM signing bonus; salaries 2020: $1MM (fully guaranteed), 2021: $12.75MM (fully guaranteed), 2022: $12.75MM; $250k workout bonus in 2022, according to Aaron Wilson of the Houston Chronicle.

Cory Littleton, (Raiders): three-years, $35.25MM, $22MM guaranteed; salaries 2020: $11MM (fully guaranteed), 2021: $5.5MM (fully guaranteed), 2022: $11MM; guaranteed $5.5MM 2021 roster bonus, non-guaranteed $500k weekly roster bonuses in 2020-2022, $250k workout bonus in 2020-2022, $250k annual Pro Bowl incentive, according to Aaron Wilson of the Houston Chronicle.

Levine Toilolo, (Giants): two-years, $6.2MM, $3.25MM guaranteed; salaries 2020: $1.225MM (fully guaranteed), 2021: $2.925MM; guaranteed $2MM 2020 roster bonus, $25k annual workout bonus, according to Aaron Wilson of the Houston Chronicle.

 

 

 

 

WR Amari Cooper To Re-Sign With Cowboys

Amari Cooper is about to get paid. ESPN’s Adam Schefter reports (via Twitter) that the star wideout intends to re-sign with the Cowboys on a five-year, $100MM deal. NFL.com’s Ian Rapoport reports (via Twitter) that the deal contains a whopping $60MM in guaranteed money.

While Cooper hasn’t necessarily established himself as one of the league’s top-tier receivers, it always seemed like he was heading towards a contract that would pay him $20MM per season. Wideouts of Cooper’s caliber or age rarely reach free agency, so it was clear that the Cowboys would have to come close to Julio Jones’ $22MM-per-year deal. Ultimately, Cooper’s $20MM average annual value will rank second at the position, bumping Michael Thomas‘ $19.25MM-AAV to the third spot.

A number of teams have been loosely connected to Cooper throughout the offseason, but Schefter tweets that one rival was pushing hard for the receiver’s services: the Washington Redskins. As Schefter notes, the Redskins pursued Cooper today and tried “to pry him away” from their divisional rival. The Broncos were also recently mentioned as a potential suitor.

Cooper earned his fourth career Pro Bowl nod following another productive season in 2019. In 16 games, the 25-year-old hauled in 79 catches for a career-high 1,189 receiving yards and a career-high eight receiving touchdowns. Cooper joined the Cowboys midway through the 2018 season following a trade with the Raiders.

Now, the Cowboys can focus on extending Dak Prescott to a new contract. Earlier today, we learned that the organization was placing the exclusive franchise tag on their Pro Bowl quarterback. At the same time, the organization watched as cornerback Byron Jones inked a lucrative deal with the Dolphins. Considering the cap constraints, it’s not surprising that ESPN’s Field Yates reports (via Twitter) that the front office restructured the deals of both running back Ezekiel Elliott and offensive tackle La’el Collins earlier today.

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NFC East Notes: Cooper, Williams, Bryant, Jenkins

In good news for Cowboys fans and management, Charles Robinson of Yahoo Sports speculates that there may not be as robust a free-agent market for wide receiver Amari Cooper as expected. Cooper would be the biggest name free-agent receiver to hit the open market without a franchise tag in some time, but Robinson notes that the incredible depth of this year’s NFL Draft class at wide receiver might make teams more skittish about resetting the market to sign Cooper. Granted, Robinson also adds, “it only takes one suitor.”

Here are some more notes from around the NFC East:

  • Washington’s negotiations with star left tackle Trent Williams have been well documented since last offseason. The ultimate fallout led Williams to sit out all of last season. Albert Breer of Sports Illustrated reports that negotiations disintegrated when Williams asked for quarterback money. Of course, it’s hard to know what that specifically means. Some lower-tier quarterbacks (like Mike Glennon and Case Keenum) have received deals with average values only slightly above the highest-paid tackles around the league.
  • Cowboys wide receiver Ventell Bryant was arrested on a DUI charge in Tampa, Florida on Wednesday, per Greg Auman of The Athletic. In Bryant’s arrest report, the arresting officer notes that Bryant admitted to having a number of drinks before getting behind the wheel and tested at a blood-alcohol level of .102 and .099 on a breathalyzer (well above the legal limit of .08). Bryant made Dallas as an undrafted free agent out of Temple and emerged as a key contributor on special teams in his rookie season.
  • The Eagles face a difficult decision surrounding the contract of veteran safety Malcolm Jenkins, according to ESPN staff writer Tim McManus. Philadelphia must decide whether to enact a club option in Jenkins’ contract before the start of the new league year on March 18th for $7.6MM. However, Jenkins has made clear that he will not play under those terms. He had wanted a new contract prior to last season but was willing to play under his contract in 2020. While Jenkins has remained an elite defensive back, the Eagles have been tentative to give the 32-year old a new contract that could pay him into his mid-30s.

Broncos To Pursue Amari Cooper?

The Broncos’ need for receiving help is no secret. After Emmanuel Sanders was sent to the 49ers in a trade deadline deal last season, the club got very little production behind Pro Bowler Courtland Sutton. And with the promising but unproven Noah Fant at the top of the tight end depth cart, Denver is looking to add to young QB Drew Lock‘s aerial options.

To that end, Troy Renck of Denver7 expects the Broncos to pursue wide receiver Amari Cooper, assuming he hits the open market. Cooper would undoubtedly be the top wideout up for grabs, and as such, he can be expected to pull down around $20MM per year. That’s a hefty investment for a player who has not always looked like a true WR1, but his presence would be a major lift for Lock and the Denver offense.

In 2019, Cooper notched 79 catches for 1,189 yards and eight scores, and his peripherals backed up those raw stats. Pro Football Focus ranked him as the tenth-best receiver in the game last year, which culminated in the Alabama product’s fourth Pro Bowl nod.

However, it would be surprising if the Cowboys let Cooper get away. Recent reports have indicated that Dallas is ramping up talks with Cooper’s reps, and a franchise tag or transition tag remains a possibility, depending on what happens with the pending CBA vote and the Cowboys’ negotiations with Dak Prescott.

Denver has plenty of cap space to work with (about $75MM), but Renck does not expect the team to go after Jets receiver Robby Anderson if Cooper comes off the board. Anderson is widely viewed as the consolation prize for WR-needy teams who are unable to land Cooper, but Renck’s sources have said Denver has little interest in the big-play receiver. Instead, the team could turn its attention to the draft, which is historically deep at WR.

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NFC Notes: Seahawks, Redskins, Prescott

The Seahawks could be adding to their backfield soon. Seattle is still interested in veteran running back Alex Collins, according to Brady Henderson of ESPN.com (Twitter link). The Seahawks worked out Collins back in January, but didn’t end up signing him at the time. Of course there is plenty of familiarity here, as Collins started his career with the Seahawks back in 2016. A fifth-round pick out of Arkansas, Collins was waived after a rookie season where he played sparingly. He signed with Baltimore, and ended up having a breakout 2017 season with the Ravens.

He became their full-time starter, racking up 973 yards and six touchdowns in 15 games. He again operated as their starter for much of the 2018 season, but a foot injury cut his year short. He was arrested in March of last year and waived by the Ravens shortly after. He received a three-game suspension from the league, and spent all of 2019 out of football. Still only 25 he should resurface somewhere for 2020, and it sounds like there’s a good chance it’s with the Seahawks.

Here’s more from the NFC:

  • The Jets are going to have some competition for Trent Williams. Earlier today we heard New York was targeting the left tackle after the Redskins said they would allow him to seek a trade, and they aren’t the only ones. Multiple teams have inquired about Williams since the news broke, a source told Jeremy Fowler of ESPN.com (Twitter link). It’s unclear which teams, although the Browns are apparently thinking about making another run at him. Whoever trades for Williams better be prepared to pay up, as he’s reportedly looking to become the league’s highest-paid tackle on a new contract.
  • Things continue to inch forward with the Cowboys and their pair of superstar impending free agents. The Cowboys met with Dak Prescott‘s agent for the first time since the start of the 2019 season last week, and they met for a second time this past week, a source told Calvin Watkins of The Dallas Morning News. While there appears to be some momentum gathering, it also doesn’t sound like anything is particularly close, as Watkins writes everything is in a “holding pattern” as both sides await a resolution on the new CBA. Watkins writes that Dallas also met with receiver Amari Cooper‘s reps for a second time. Watkins reiterated his earlier report that the Cowboys have offered Prescott an annual salary of $33MM with $105MM in guarantees. It’s likely going to take a lot more than that to get a deal done.
  • The Buccaneers have made a minor addition to Bruce Arians’ coaching staff. Tampa has hired Keith Tandy as their new special teams assistant, according to Greg Auman of The Athletic (Twitter link). As Auman points out it’s a familiar name, since Tandy spent six years with the Bucs as a player from 2012-17. The former safety from West Virginia spent some time with the Falcons in 2018 before hanging up his cleats.

Cowboys, Amari Cooper To Ramp Up Talks

Facing the prospect of only one tag being available, the Cowboys are running out of time with a player who could well hit free agency. They are moving toward using the exclusive franchise tag on Dak Prescott, which would push Amari Cooper toward the market.

But the Cowboys and their top wide receiver are set to ramp up their extension talks “very soon,” according to ESPN’s Josina Anderson (on Twitter). Teams can use franchise or transition tags between now and March 12, but the prospect of a new CBA being ratified in that time frame would limit the Cowboys to using just one tag — as opposed to the two-tag setup if the 2011 CBA were to remain in place for the 2020 season.

Like Prescott, the Cowboys and Cooper have been at this a while. Dallas began planning a long-term future with Cooper shortly after trading a first-round pick for him in 2018. Yet, 16 months later, Cooper played out his rookie contract and is on the precipice of free agency. The former top-five pick has said on multiple occasions, however, he wants to stay in Dallas. New Cowboys HC Mike McCarthy wants him back as well.

The Cowboys met with Cooper’s representation this week, and with Prescott likely set for the exclusive franchise tag and Byron Jones on track to leave in free agency, that moves the standout wide receiver to the top of the organization’s pecking order. Cooper is now a four-time Pro Bowler, but after an inconsistent stretch in his final 1 1/2 Raiders seasons, he has largely delivered for the Cowboys. The 25-year-old wideout notched career-high yardage (1,189) and touchdown (eight) numbers last season.

News of the potential CBA ratification set to put the league in strong position to secure windfall TV deals this offseason may well impact these talks. The salary cap has spiked by approximately $10MM annually for years now, and it is set to come in around $200MM this year. But by 2023, the cap could be in the ballpark of $300MM. Anywhere in that vicinity would stand to impact 2020 contract talks, and with Julio Jones‘ $22MM-per-year deal raising the bar for receivers last year, Cooper may be aiming to become the NFL’s second-highest-paid wideout. Michael Thomas‘ $19.25MM-AAV deal currently holds that distinction.

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Latest On Amari Cooper, Byron Jones

The Cowboys met with wide receiver Amari Cooper‘s reps at the scouting combine tonight, as Michael Gehlken of the Dallas Morning News writes. Because the proposed CBA is looking like it will be ratified by the league’s players in short order, the need to get a deal done with Cooper is heightened, as a new collective bargaining agreement would remove Dallas’ ability to use the franchise tag and transition tag this offseason.

Cooper had been rumored as a transition tag candidate, but given that quarterback Dak Prescott appears increasingly likely to get hit with the franchise tag, the transition designation may no longer be an option for Cooper. Of course, the club could come to terms with Prescott on a multi-year pact in enough time to franchise tag Cooper, but it’s unclear how likely that is.

Gehlken says the Cowboys will probably be able to get Cooper under contract prior to the opening of free agency, and negotiations are expected to intensify over the coming days. Though Cooper does not always look like a WR1, he did set career-highs in receiving yards (1,189) and TDs (eight) in 2019, his first full season in Dallas. He is an indispensable weapon for Prescott.

Recent reports have suggested that the Cowboys will be unable to retain cornerback Byron Jones, who is viewed as the top CB on the free agent market. However, they will at least do their due diligence, as they are scheduled to meet with Jones’ reps tomorrow (Twitter link via Calvin Watkins of the Dallas Morning News).

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NFC East Rumors: Cooper, Cobb, Giants

Lots of changes are on the way for the Cowboys under new head coach Mike McCarthy, but the hope is to keep two of their big-name wide receivers in the fold. On Wednesday, McCarthy confirmed that the plan is to retain star Amari Cooper and former Packers star Randall Cobb on the roster (Twitter link via Jon Machota of The Athletic).

Cobb is coming off of a one-year, $5MM deal with $4MM guaranteed. McCarthy saw the slot receiver up-close in his prime, so it stands to reason that he could have a role in the offense.

Keeping Cooper, meanwhile, would be much more costly. Last year, the former first-round pick posted 79 catches with career-high marks in receiving yards (1,189) and touchdowns (8). He’s indicated that he won’t strictly seek dollars in his next deal, but any multi-year deal for Cooper will place him at or near the top of the WR market.

Here’s more from the NFC East:

  • The Giants are “open for business” when it comes to trading back in the draft, GM Dave Gettleman says (Twitter link via Ralph Vacchiano of SNY). Still, the GM knows that there’s “risk” involved with giving up a prized selection, such as the Giants’ No. 4 overall pick. If the Giants stand pat, they could be in line for a prime Gettleman “hog mollie” in Alabama tackle Jedrick Wills. They also have ample cap room to fill their other needs, especially after cutting linebackers Alec Ogletree and Kareem Martin.
  • If the Giants use the franchise tag to keep defensive lineman Leonard Williams and classify him as a defensive tackle, they may have to prepare for a fight, Vacchiano hears. Tagging Williams as a defensive end would net him about $2MM more in 2020 comp, but he might not have much of a case. Last year, Williams saw 466 DT snaps versus just 255 DE snaps. His split wasn’t all that different with the Jets, either.
  • No surprise here, but Cowboys VP Stephen Jones says the team will prioritize defense with many notables on course for free agency. “In general, defense is the priority for this offseason,” Jones said (via Michael Gehlken of the Dallas News). “Whether it’s getting some our own guys back or whether it’s free agency or whether it’s the draft, if you look at our roster obviously most of our offensive roster are either under contract or are going to have restrictions to where we’re going to have a great opportunity to keep them.” Secondary stalwart Byron Jones is getting a lot of attention, but several defensive line pieces including Robert Quinn and Maliek Collins are also out-of-contract.

Latest On Dak Prescott, Cowboys FAs

We heard earlier this week that negotiations between the Cowboys and quarterback Dak Prescott could ultimately lead to a franchise tag. However, Stephen Jones clarified that the organization is still focused on completing a long-term deal before Prescott hits unrestricted free agency in March.

“We want to get this done,” Jones told Clarence E. Hill Jr. of the Dallas Star-Telegram. “Things are fixing to heat up. We want to put every foot forward and try to grind this out and get a deal done.

“I know he wants to get his contract in the rear view mirror and we want it too. We want him to be treated well, financially and respectfully. We are going to have a real urgency to get this done.”

There’s been optimism surrounding an extension for months, but the report from earlier this week cautioned that a deal wasn’t imminent. We heard back in January that the two sides were close to an agreement, with the Cowboys reportedly willing to give Prescott a contract worth $33MM per season. Hill Jr. notes that the quarterback is seeking a deal that would jump Russell Wilson‘s league-leading $35MM AAV.

“I don’t want to get into the details, but we have offered him significant money,” Jones said. “The money we have offered Dak no matter how you look at it would put him as a top five quarterback in the NFL. That is the way we feel about him. He is one of the best.”

Jones added that the team’s priority is signing their franchise quarterback, and they haven’t discussed contracts with any of their other free agents, including wideout Amari Cooper and pass-rusher Robert Quinn. Hill Jr. tweets that the organization also hasn’t decided whether they’ll bring back tight end Jason Witten or linebacker Sean Lee. We learned this morning that Lee wasn’t going to retire.

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