Ought to the Cowboys launch Amari Cooper?

The old (l.) and the new

The outdated (l.) and the brand new
Photograph: Getty Photos

The most recent discuss across the league has the Dallas Cowboys considering the discharge of veteran Professional Bowl large receiver Amari Cooper. Simply the thought s has Cowboys nation up in arms. Sending Cooper on his approach would imply the Cowboys free themselves of a $20-million large receiver.

Truthfully, I’m undecided what all of the outrage is about. Certain, he was a perennial Professional Bowler, however most of these choices had been in Oakland whereas he was a Raider early in his profession. He made the Professional Bowl throughout his first full season in Dallas (2019), however that appeared like extra of a status choice than production-based. And let’s be actual, over the previous couple of seasons, there have been far too many video games the place Cooper goes into witness safety. He’s simply non-existent typically on the sector.

Cooper had six video games final yr the place he caught three or fewer passes for 50 yards or much less. No. 1 receivers within the NFL can’t have that many video games with that little manufacturing, whether or not they get in the long run zone or not. Cooper normally will get his fair proportion of targets from Dak Prescott. And most occasions, when a receiver doesn’t get sufficient targets, it’s normally as a result of they aren’t creating sufficient separation from defenders and getting open.

On high of that, Cooper noticed a major decline in production in 2021 from the earlier yr. In 2020, Cooper caught 92 balls for 1,114 yards in 16 video games, primarily with out Prescott on the sector. Final season, his totals fell to 68 catches for 865 receiving yards in 15 video games. His targets additionally noticed a dramatic dropoff from 130 in 2020 to 104 in 2021, with Dak again within the lineup full-time.

If Cooper didn’t see the writing on the wall throughout the season, he definitely does now. A lot of his declining statistics might be attributed to the emergence of former first-round choose Ceedee Lamb. Lamb was focused 120 occasions in 2021, up from 111 throughout his rookie marketing campaign of 2020. Let me spell it out for you…Ceedee is the way forward for the Cowboys at large receiver. And shortly sufficient, the Cowboys might want to signal him to an enormous deal as nicely.

I do know most Cowboys followers gained’t agree with this, and that’s high quality. However a high-priced receiver isn’t a necessity. Excessive manufacturing receivers are, and based mostly on what we simply noticed final season, Cooper’s manufacturing has taken successful for a number of causes. Dallas can discover a younger, hungry receiving menace within the draft who will rely pennies towards the wage cap over the subsequent 4 to 5 years in comparison with Cooper. So, shifting on gained’t be the top of the world.

Now, if you wish to make the argument that Dallas needs to be trying to launch Ezekiel Elliot lengthy earlier than reducing Cooper, then I’ll provide you with that. Personally, I really feel like we’ve seen one of the best of each gamers already, however Cooper has way more left within the tank than Elliot. However we additionally know that Jerry Jones likes to deal with his guys. And by his guys, I imply gamers that he drafts and grows shut with over a number of years. Whereas Jones did commerce a worthwhile first-round choose for Cooper, he didn’t draft him. So, that degree of connection isn’t there like with Zeke, Dak, and Ceedee, since Cooper isn’t a homegrown product of the Cowboys.

So, the truth that the Cowboys are contemplating reducing ties with Amari shouldn’t be all that surprising. That teaching workers sees him each day in apply and noticed what he produced on the sector final yr. Final season was not a $20 million-production yr for Cooper, plain and easy. Lamb would be the primary receiver ultimately, whether or not anybody likes it or not. I’m certain Cooper nonetheless feels he’s able to being the highest receiving possibility on a crew, so one thing has to provide. Due to that, the Cowboys are apparently keen to provide Cooper away without cost. If it helps create some cap aid, I don’t see any situation with that. 

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