Just over three years after the Dallas Cowboys traded a first-round pick for Amari Cooper, the four-time Pro Bowl receiver is set to be released as one of the biggest NFL cap casualties in 2022.
The 27-year-old will enter NFL free agency at a great time. Davante Adams is expected to receive the franchise tag, taking the top wide receiver off the market. Meanwhile, Chris Godwin, Odell Beckham Jr. and Michael Gallup are recovering from torn ACLs.
- Amari Cooper stats (2021): 68 receptions, 865 receiving yards, 12.7 ypc, 8 touchdowns
It means Cooper becomes a top option for teams seeking a No. 1 receiver. Dallas loved his impact and he proved to be a go-to target for Dak Prescott, but salary-cap issues forced a drastic move.
With that in mind, let’s examine the best landing spots for Amari Cooper.
Jacksonville Jaguars land No. 1 receiver for Trevor Lawrence
The Jacksonville Jaguars enter the offseason with ample cap space, more than enough to sign a star wide receiver. With Adams off the table, barring a stunning surprise, the choice comes down to Godwin (torn ACL) or Cooper. Considering the former Cowboys’ receiver should be cheaper, Cooper becomes an attractive target.
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This is also a great move for Trevor Lawrence. The rookie never had a true No. 1 option and it’s fair to argue he lacked a competent No. 2 receiver. Cooper would draw 130-plus targets per season with the Jaguars and he could easily turn that into 90-plus receptions and 1,100 receiving yards.
Amari Cooper returns home to Miami
Cooper grew up in Miami, playing football at Miami Northwestern Senior High School and becoming a star on the gridiron. After years spent in Alabama and Texas, there would be something special about a Miami reunion.
The Dolphins could create a version of the Cowboys’ passing attack, viewing Jaylen Waddle as their own version of CeeDee Lamb. If tight end Mike Gesicki is re-signed or tagged, Miami would surround quarterback Tua Tagovailoa with three great weapons that can make plays after the catch. For a passer who makes quick, accurate throws and is dependent on his teammates’ YAC ability, it becomes a nice fit.
Cleveland Browns make surprising splash for offense
The Cleveland Browns will be in the market for a top wide receiver this offseason, either via trade, the 2022 NFL Draft or free agency. Now that Cooper is about to be free for any team to sign, Cleveland should strike.
Cooper steps in as the Browns’ No. 1 receiver, immediately providing them with a lot more than Jarvis Landry delivers. If Landry is cut, it creates more cap flexibility to address other needs. An ideal scenario might be signing Cooper and agreeing to a multi-year deal with Jadeveon Clowney.
Amari Cooper joins Chicago Bears
The Chicago Bears need to put weapons around its second-year quarterback. Fortunately for Justin Fields, Amari Cooper fits into the equation perfectly. Signing him won’t impact Chicago’s potential draft-pick compensation next year and this could be an ideal landing spot for a receiver who wants to play with a quarterback like Prescott.
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Darnell Mooney shows promising talent, but he is a complementary receiver who is best served stretching the field from various alignments. Amari Cooper, who averaged 51 first downs over the last three seasons, would be the security blanket in Chicago’s offense. When Fields wants to go deep, Cooper also proved the can make plays vertically. Whether it’s a one-year contract or a 3-year deal, both sides can benefit.