The Cowboys face the possibility of losing a number of their big-name players on both sides of the ball. The most notable of those – not just in terms of pedigree, but also how much his contract will affect the rest of the team’s offseason plans – is Amari Cooper. Recent comments from executive vice president Stephen Jones won’t be confused with a ringing endorsement of the wideout.
As ESPN’s Todd Archer writes, Jones was non-committal when asked if Cooper would remain with the Cowboys through next season. “It’s too early for me to address that yet… we’re continuing to have conversations”, he said. Questions surrounding the 28-year-old have increased recently, due to structure of his contract. There is no more guaranteed money left on Cooper’s deal, creating the possibility the team could get out of a $22MM cap hit in each of the next three years, while incurring relatively little dead money.
The former fourth overall pick had his least productive full season in Dallas last year. While his numbers (68 catches for 865 yards and eight touchdowns in 15 games) were still noteworthy, they fell short of expectations given his Pro Bowl pedigree, along with his contract. Moving on from Cooper could lead to a substantial overhaul of the Cowboys’ receiving corps, as Michael Gallup and Cedrick Wilson are each pending free agents, leaving CeeDee Lamb as essentially the only sure thing at the position.
Here are some other Dallas notes, including more remarks from Jones:
- In contrast to Cooper, Jones spoke with more certainty about Ezekiel Elliott, saying “He’s going to be here, no question. We’re fortunate to have him”. With his money being guaranteed, that confirmation shouldn’t come as much of a surprise, Archer notes, but it is still notable given the fact Elliott played through a knee injury all season. Despite being banged up, he produced 1,289 scrimmage yards and 12 total touchdowns in 2021.
- On a more general note, Jones suggested the Cowboys won’t treat this offseason as an ‘all-in’ year while sacrificing future cap flexibility. “We could do some things that would allow us to keep most of our guys if we wanted to push it all out, but then we’d have a much bigger problem next year and the year after”, he said (Twitter link via The Athletic’s Jon Machota). The Cowboys are currently projected to be over the cap, with several big-ticket free agents (including Randy Gregory and Dalton Schultz) still to be re-signed.
- Lastly, head coach Mike McCarthy announced at the Combine that Dak Prescott had surgery on his left (i.e. non-throwing) shoulder at the beginning of the offseason, Field Yates of ESPN tweets. McCarthy has “no concern” about Prescott’s availability for offseason workouts, an encouraging sign given his injury history in Dallas.