Cleveland Browns wide receiver Amari Cooper is skilling mandatory minicamp while he is seeking a new contract as a result of the explosion of the wide receiver market over the last few years, and quarterback Deshaun Watson spoke on his receiver's situation.

“He's the best in the game, and I believe that,” Deshaun Watson said, according to Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk. “He shows it each and every year. He showed it the last two years with different quarterbacks. So, I think you got to put him up there, if not the best.”

Watson also made it clear that he has no problem with Amari Cooper holding out of mandatory minicamp for an updated contract with the Browns.

“Amari is out brother, our teammate, we support him, and the decisions that he got to make for himself is on Amari,” Watson said, according to Florio. “But everyone in this locker room respects him and knows exactly what he's about. And whenever he gets back, he's going to be ready to go. … He's got to handle what he got to handle, and nobody is looking any different on him. And like I said, we all support him. And he was here this weekend with us, and we had a good time.”

Cooper was traded to the Browns from the Dallas Cowboys in 2022 due to the thought that Dallas could not afford to keep his contract on the books. He is entering his age 30 season, and the Browns likely will have to figure out some type of solution this summer.

Amari Cooper's contract situation with the Browns

Cooper signed a five-year, $100 million contract with the Cowboys, which comes out to $20 million a year. Needless to say, the wide receiver market has exploded since then, with players like Justin Jefferson, AJ Brown, Amon-Ra St. Brown, and many others getting significantly more money per season than Cooper.

As of right now, Cooper is tied for the 19th-highest paid wide receiver with Chris Godwin when it comes to average annual value. Not to mention, Cooper is heading into the last year of his deal and is scheduled to be a free agent next offseason. It is understandable that he wants a new contract from the Browns given both of those factors.

Watson is trying to rebound from two disappointing seasons with the Browns, and Cooper is a big component to his success. Cooper is a reliable weapon for Watson, and as the quarterback noted, he has been that with a lot of different quarterbacks in his first two seasons with the Browns. Cooper has had over 1,100 receiving yards in each of his first two seasons with Cleveland. He is a valuable weapon who understandably wants to be compensated as such.