The Dallas Cowboys have a big decision to make this offseason regarding star wide receiver Amari Cooper. Cooper, 27, is about to enter the third year of a five-year, $100 million deal he signed with Dallas back in 2020. There’s no denying that the four-time Pro Bowler is talented, as he has totaled over 1000 yards in five of his eight seasons in the league. However, that cap hit is also a serious detriment to a Cowboys team that is already in some form of salary cap hell. It leaves the Cowboys with a few options. Ask Cooper to restructure his deal, which he will almost certainly turn down. Cut Cooper and get nothing in return while reaping the rewards of $16 million in cap savings. Trade Cooper and get a draft pick- or a valuable player- in return while saving $16 million in cap space. Dallas has one clear option. They must trade Amari Cooper this offseason.

Amari Cooper has largely been exactly what the Cowboys wanted since he arrived in 2019. Cooper has filled the role of number-one wideout admirably, rattling off back-to-back 1000-yard seasons in his first two years in Dallas. However, Cooper’s performance took a step back both on and off the field this year. The 27-year-old earned a solid 72.9 PFF receiving grade and caught 68 passes for 865 yards and eight scores in 14 games. However, Cooper’s receiving yardage per game total was his lowest since 2017 while his catch percentage declined nearly five percentage points from last year.

Moreover, Cooper was, simply put, a distraction off the field. He made some poor off-the-field choices when it came to the COVID-19 virus, drawing the ire of Cowboys legend Michael Irvin in the process. He complained about his lack of targets, which the team attempted to brush off as a playmaker wanting to help the team win. Cooper even frustrated Cowboys owner Jerry Jones with his play at one point.

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It’s clear. The time for the Cowboys to move on from Cooper is now while they can still get some value for him. Trading Cooper would leave the Cowboys thin at the receiving spot. However, with a bit of roster trimming, the Cowboys could look to bring back one of Dalton Schultz or Michael Gallup while signing another free agent wideout.

It’s not ideal, but teams sometimes need to make the tough choices to better themselves in the long run. The Cowboys must trade Amari Cooper.