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Did the Cowboys Overpay for Amari Cooper?

Less than a day after the Dallas Cowboys used the franchise tag on star quarterback Dak Prescott, the team made another big financial decision. Amari Cooper, who had spent 1.5 years with the Cowboys after a mid-season trade from the Oakland Raiders in October 2018, was a clear need for the team.

Cooper re-signed with the Cowboys getting a five-year deal for $100 million with $60 million guaranteed. Even with all the talent Amari Cooper has shown so far in his NFL career, plenty of people are criticizing the deal made by Cowboys owner Jerry Jones. So, did the Cowboys give Cooper too much money for the next five years?

Being a Dallas Cowboys fan, my first instinct was certainly to be in favor of the deal, but let’s take a deeper dive into all the factors. In his time with the Cowboys, has he made a significant impact for the Dallas offense?

Before Cooper was traded to the team, the Cowboys struggled to score points with a limited amount of weapons on the outside. After a Week 8 loss against the Washington Redskins, Jerry Jones knew he had to do something if he wanted his team to be in playoff contention. 

The trade for Cooper changed everything for the Dallas offense in 2018 as it gave Prescott an outside weapon. After a Monday night loss to the Tennessee Titans, the Cowboys went on to win seven of their last eight games including a statement win against the New Orleans Saints in Week 13.

In nine games for the Cowboys in 2018, Amari Cooper racked up 53 catches for 725 yards and 6 touchdowns. Even with a Divisional Round exit at the hands of the Los Angeles Rams, it looked like the Cowboys made the right decision. 

In 2019, plenty of expectations were put on the Dallas Cowboys to be in contention for the Super Bowl. The possibility of the team improving for 2018 gave fans plenty of excitement even with the criticism around head coach Jason Garrett.

Jerry Jones made plenty of impact moves during the off-season including getting wide receiver Randall Cobb and defensive end Robert Quinn. The Cowboys were set up to contend with the Philadelphia Eagles in a quest for the NFC East division title.

The Cowboys started out the season in great form dominating the Giants, Redskins, and Dolphins to give themselves a 3-0 record. Then, after a tough primetime loss to the New Orleans Saints, the Cowboys dropped their next two games, and that started their trend for the rest of the season.

The Dallas Cowboys had their great performances, and their disappointing ones too, leading them to an average 8-8 season. Even with the Philadelphia Eagles having so many injury problems with their offense, the Cowboys were not able to take advantage and eventually missed the playoffs. 

For Amari Cooper, it was a really good year for him in his first full year with the Cowboys. He had 79 receptions for 1,189 yards and 8 touchdowns, but people still had one moment in their mind that made them question Amari Cooper. 

In Week 16, the Cowboys traveled to Philadelphia to play their division rival Eagles, and that game would basically decide who won the division in 2019. The Cowboys offense struggled all night, but the team still had a chance to tie the game in the dire moments of the fourth quarter.

On 4th and 8 with 1:25 left in the fourth quarter, Amari Cooper, the best receiver on the roster, was not on the field in arguably their biggest play of the season. Dallas eventually lost the game and this caused plenty of people to question how much Copper really wants to play football. 

Many people will argue that the Cowboys gave Amari Cooper way too much money, and I would have to agree with that statement to a degree. Cooper is currently the second highest paid receiver in the NFL based on annual average only trailing Julio Jones of the Atlanta Falcons with $22 million per year.

To me, Amari Cooper deserved his money, but not in a way that would make him the second highest paid receiver in the league. Guys like Micheal Thomas and DeAndre Hopkins deserve to be ahead of him, but I still think Cooper is a top-tier receiver after those guys. 

Going into 2020, it will be really interesting to see what the Cowboys offense looks like, but they certainly have plenty of weapons. With Cooper and Micheal Gallup on the other side, Dak Prescott will have two productive options at the receiver position.

Ezekiel Elliott continues to be one of the best running backs in the league, and he will look to help Dallas return to the playoffs. Amari Cooper will have to play a big role for the Cowboys in 2020, and I fully expect him to shut out the criticism and ball out in Dallas this upcoming season.

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