Should Cowboys WR Amari Cooper be “On Notice” in 2021?

    Amari Cooper has done his job since the traded for him in 2018, filling the role of number-one receiver on the field and making the twice. But with huge contracts come huge expectations, and that's led at least one source to claim that Cooper may be heading into a make-or-break season in 2021.

    On this morning's Shan & RJ show on 105.3 The FAN this morning, host Shan Shariff said that Cooper is “on notice” this season. He said that he's he's heard “whispers” that the team is frustrated with Amari's perceived lack of competitive drive and occasional issues.

    Cooper is one of a few players, including , , and , to begin this year's on the Physically Unable to Perform list. He's still dealing rehabbing from ankle surgery.

    The soundbite with Shan's comments can be found here:

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    As Shan brings out, there is a logical landscape that could lead to Cooper's . Dallas will have two more years of 's rookie deal with a 5th-year option in 2024, plus the potential to re-sign at a lower price than Amari.

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    At an average total compensation of $20m per year Cooper is currently the 4th-most expensive WR in football. He is scheduled to count $22 million against Dallas' each of the next four seasons.

    It's not wild speculation to suggest that the Cowboys could consider cutting Amari after 2021. The dead money on Cooper's contract will drop to just $6 million next year, meaning $16 million in cap relief if Dallas were to release or him.

    If the plan is to dump Cooper for Gallup then it's worth noting that most, if not all, of that money would go to Gallup's second contract. But with Michael two years younger than Amari and having a proven chemistry with , Dallas could decide it's money better spent.

    That said, this isn't a case of a player underperforming their contract. Cooper has had over 1,100 yards and not missed a game in the last two seasons for Dallas. For whatever criticisms there are of his personality or lack thereof, he's been a franchise WR where it matters.

    This is a great problem to have for the Cowboys; the luxury of having to cut one great player to keep one you may like a little better. And of course, those “whispers” than Shan mentioned this morning may not have much substance to begin with.

    Still, the idea that Amari Cooper could be in trouble after this season isn't outside the realm. He will have one of the ripest contracts on the roster for being a cap casualty and that's always a cause for concern.

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    Hopefully, his play in 2021 makes him indispensable.


    Jess Haynie
    Jess Haynie
    Cowboys fan since 1992, blogger since 2011. Bringing you the objectivity of an outside perspective with the passion of a die-hard fan. I love to talk to my readers, so please comment on any article and I'll be sure to respond!


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    gary b

    I like Cooper but the fact that he is always banged up is cause for concern. At 20+ million a year and not getting any younger the cowboys have a big decision to make next year. I expect Lamb to supplant him as WR1 this year which could factor in.


    If Gallup continues to progress he is the WR to keep. Amari has done a great job but you have to be forward thinking. Gallup can secure dominance at WR for the next 4-5 years with Lamb.

    Ben Miller

    The biggest problem Amari has is perception. He’s quiet, he’s reserved, he’s not the prototypical loud mouth diva, throw me the damn ball Keshawn, T.O., Bryant, Julio WR. From the outside looking in fans want a guy making $20M to be the Michael Irvin motivational outspoken leader kind of guy.. Loud gets noticed by the media and fans. Only players and coaches truly know what Cooper is like and contributes in the locker room, in meetings with his teammates. Look since he got here all the guy has done is produce. Because he doesn’t tell and scream and carry on doesn’t mean he isn’t motivated and Uber competitive. If Dallas determines money is better spent elsewhere fine, but don’t judge Amari negatively because he doesn’t carry on and act a fool!

    gary b

    Ben- Good points and certainly some validity to what you say. But I don’t think that will influence how the cowboys determine his worth (maybe some fans) but not the cowboy evaluators who will use more raw data such as health/age/production/salary cap concerns and existing talent we have at the position. Incidentally was never a big fan of the T Owens and M Irvin antics on the sideline. Thought those were more selfish self serving outbursts then motivational for teammates.

    Cowboys Fan 1969

    Dallas Cowboys stories must be hard for you to find and worth write about. Please remember Dallas gave up a # 1 draft pick to get him.

    Cowboys fan

    The front office would be stupid to get rid of Amari Cooper!! So what if he’s banged up a lot…. He still don’t miss any games!! He’ll play hurt before he’ll sit out a game!! And maybe the front office will use “raw data” like Gary said, well let’s look at the raw data (health)…. He’s banged up sometimes but he never misses a game over it!! That don’t sound like a reason to cut a true number 1 receiver!! (Age) still only 27 years old after being in the league 7 years, still a true number 1 receiver, still a top 10 receiver, still YOUNG!! (production) has over a thousand yards every year, and is the go to receiver for Dak!! (Salary cap concerns) the salary cap is only gonna get higher as the years go by, and there’s always ways to make more salary cap space by restructuring contracts and cutting players at the bottom of the roster!! And existing talent on the team at the position…. There are no talent on this team that’s as good as Cooper other than maybe Ceedee Lamb!! Gallup is good, but he’s no Amari Cooper!! So why cut Cooper and have one number 1 receiver and a really good number 2 receiver when we can keep Amari Cooper and have 2 number 1 receivers!? So I went through this so called raw data that Gary mentioned and from what I’ve gathered, it seems that keeping Cooper would be the smart thing to do!!
    And to comment from the comment that Todd wrote….. You do know that Gallup is only a year maybe 2 younger than Cooper right?? It’s hard to believe since Cooper has been in the league so much longer than Gallup, but it’s true!! So to be forward thinking…. Cooper can keep his dominance going for the next 4 to 5 years with Lamb too!!
    And to end my comment, I have to say that I’d rather pay a true number 1 receiver…. A top 10 receiver in the NFL, number 1 receiver money than to pay a really good number 2 receiver number 1 receiver money!! And paying Gallup number 1 receiver money over paying Cooper number 1 receiver money is not the smart way to spend money!!

    gary b

    Cowboys fan- To think Cooper will be dominant for 4-5 more years? C’mon thats is pretty far fetched. Yes he doesn’t miss many games but he seems to miss chunks of important ones. Also is known to have alligator arms at times when he hears foot steps. I predict Lamb will produce as our WR1 next year. I’m not implying Cooper is chopped liver. He’s an excellent WR but at 20+million a year, the cowboys have to ask themselves if it would be wise to resign him moving forward.


    That’s if he can stay healthy, even when he is healthy, he seems disengaged when he goes against a elite CB, he is a really good WR, not sure he’s worth top WR money, I agree with you Gary about Ceedee, and I also think Gallup could and will have a HUGE year as well with this being a contract year for him, plus Ced Wilson looked good in spots last year, IMO we should look to try and trade Cooper, he’s expensive, a bit injury prone, and not a necessity at this point if we keep Gallup after this year and have Ceedee and Ced Wilson, you could get a good quality player in return or picks for Coop


    On the fence with Cooper. Some games he puts up great number, than other games he kind of disappears. Didn’t like the comments by DE Brandon Graham about Cooper after one of the Philly games last year. I can see why there may be some “whispers” about his competitiveness.

    We do have very good depth at the WR position, so everything should be on the table if something that will strengthen our team is offered.

    Dave Fooshee

    Bite the bullet and keep Amari and Gallop. If you want to you can find a way. Why break up this core of recievers? Don’t lose your minds! Do the right thing!