Amari Cooper

Cowboys Take Amari Cooper Off PUP List

Amari Cooper will have the green light to return to practice. The Cowboys took their highly paid wide receiver off the PUP list Tuesday, after he passed his physical, Michael Gehlken of the Dallas Morning News tweets.

The seventh-year veteran has run into multiple bouts of ankle trouble this offseason. He underwent arthroscopic ankle surgery in January and, after experiencing an issue again in early June, was shut down. Cooper is not yet 100%, per Gehlken (on Twitter), but Tuesday’s transaction paves the way for a return by Week 1.

Cooper, 27, has not missed a game since joining the Cowboys via midseason trade in 2018. This ankle issue will be something to monitor, but the former top-five pick is set to return to Dallas’ workouts soon and take his place alongside Michael Gallup and CeeDee Lamb.

This season will be pivotal for Cooper, who is in the second year of a five-year, $100MM contract. The Cowboys can get out of this deal fairly easily after the season, and the team is likely planning to make a decision between Cooper and Gallup as a long-term piece in the 2022 offseason. Cooper has posted back-to-back 1,100-yard seasons with the Cowboys, doing so in 2020 despite Dak Prescott missing most of the season.

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Cowboys Place Amari Cooper, DeMarcus Lawrence On PUP

The Cowboys have placed wide receiver Amari Cooper and defensive end DeMarcus Lawrence on the Physically Unable to Perform list to begin training camp (Twitter link via Todd Archer of ESPN.com). Cooper is still recuperating from a lingering ankle issue while Lawrence has been hampered by back problems. 

Cooper, a seventh-year veteran, was previously scratched from Cowboys minicamp. He underwent minor ankle surgery in January but the latest trouble surfaced in May. The Pro Bowl wideout has been here before — a sprain cost him time in 2017 and reemerged in early last season. To date, Cooper has not missed a game as a Cowboy. But, if his recovery drags, they’ll be leaning more on Michael Gallup and CeeDee Lamb.

Lawrence nearly opted out last year, but ultimately went on to appear in all 16 games for the Cowboys with 6.5 sacks. Statistically, his best work came in 2017 and 2018 as he registered a combined 25 sacks. The Cowboys hope that he can quickly put his back (and shoulder) injuries behind him to resume his Pro Bowl form.

The stars will be joined on the list by kicker Greg Zuerlein (back), defensive tackle Trysten Hill (knee), newly-signed rookie defensive end Chauncey Golston (hamstring), and offensive tackle Mitch Hyatt (knee). The Cowboys will also place UDFA receiver T.J. Vasher on the non-football injury list as he works his way back from a knee injury suffered at Texas Tech.

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Amari Cooper May Miss Training Camp Time

Amari Cooper has run into another ankle issue. The seventh-year veteran wide receiver is not participating in Cowboys minicamp and is expected to be on the shelf for a few more weeks, Ian Rapoport of NFL.com notes (video link).

Cooper suffered his latest ankle malady around two weeks ago and will not be running on it for a bit. The Cowboys open training camp July 21, and Rapoport describes Cooper as a candidate for the active/PUP list. It does not sound like Cooper is in danger of missing regular-season time, but the soon-to-be 27-year-old wideout does have a history of ankle trouble and is coming off surgery.

While this latest ailment is being described as minor, Cooper underwent ankle surgery in January. That procedure was labeled as a cleanup operation. The Pro Bowl wideout has battled ankle trouble in a few seasons, missing time due to a sprain and subsequent aggravation in 2017. He dealt with ankle issues early last season as well.

The Cowboys, however, have not needed to worry about their highly paid receiver’s availability since trading for him in 2018. Cooper has not missed a game as a Cowboy. Set to team with Michael Gallup and CeeDee Lamb, Cooper is once again expected to play the lead role in Dallas’ passing attack.

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NFC East Notes: Wentz, Smith, Cowboys

Carson Wentz‘s status has fluctuated considerably over the past month and change, with the veteran quarterback having gone from starter to backup and then trade candidate to a player around whom the Eagles again want to build. The fifth-year passer’s issues with the since-fired Doug Pederson began well before the December benching, with the Philadelphia Inquirer’s Jeff McLane noting the quarterback would randomly audible out of Pederson play calls down the stretch this season. This helped lead to Pederson benching Wentz on his own. During training camp, however, Eagles staffers saw warning signs of a potential decline, per McLane, who adds that some within the organization were concerned about passing-game coordinator Press Taylor‘s promotion. The proposition of a Pederson-Wentz-Taylor offensive power structure returning next season did not sit well with Lurie. The Eagles promoted Taylor last year but brought in Rich Scangarello and Marty Mornhinweg to help the offense as well; the latter two will not be back next season.

The Eagles are in the process of hiring Pederson’s replacement. Colts OC Nick Sirianni and Cowboys OC Kellen Moore interviewed Tuesday. Here is the latest from Philly and the other NFC East cities:

  • Alex Smith said at season’s end he would take a few weeks before deciding if he wanted to play a 17th season. He is under contract through 2022. But the Washington quarterback indicated during a 60 Minutes interview (via CBSNews.com) that the 2020 comeback season “has only emboldened for me that I can, you know, play at this level.” After cutting Dwayne Haskins, Washington has Smith and Kyle Allen under contract for next season. Though, Taylor Heinicke is a restricted free agent. Washington cutting Smith — an onerous proposition in 2019 and ’20 — would save the franchise $14.7MM in cap space, however, creating a complex situation for the QB-needy team.
  • Cowboys wide receiver Amari Cooper recently underwent ankle surgery, but Clarence Hill of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram described it as a cleanup procedure (Twitter link). The Cowboys are not concerned about their top wideout missing much offseason time.
  • On that note, Giants left tackle Andrew Thomas also went under the knife recently. Last year’s No. 4 overall pick also underwent ankle surgery. Thomas played through ankle pain for much of the season, per Dan Duggan of The Athletic, who adds (via Twitter) the Giants expect Thomas to be ready for their offseason program.
  • The Eagles will have a new linebackers coach next season. Ken Flajole will not be back, according to Alex Marvez of Sirius XM Radio (on Twitter). The 66-year-old assistant joined the Eagles as part of Pederson’s first staff in 2016. After spending most of the 1980s and ’90s as a college coach, Flajole has been an NFL assistant for 22 seasons.

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.