NFL execs: Amari Cooper massively overpaid, not ‘a difference maker’

Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

The Dallas Cowboys signed star receiver Amari Cooper to a five-year, $100 million contract in free agency this offseason, but that move is being panned by rival executives.

Mike Sando of The Athletic released a detailed column Wednesday in which he shared quotes from NFL executives and coaches about the offseason. In it, he shared two separate quotes from NFL execs who both saw the Cooper contract in a negative light.

One of them basically hinted that the Cowboys were duped into paying Cooper more than he’s actually worth, citing the reports that Washington was going to pay the receiver more than Dallas.

“I’m always suspicious when I hear a guy like Cooper took less money than he could have got from another team when the dollars are at the top of the market,” an exec said. “I’m not convinced the Redskins were willing to pay $20 million a year. Teams get bluffed in free agency. You have to be willing to say, ‘Here is what we are willing to do.’ Amari Cooper, $20 million? To me, it should be no more than $15 million with all the receivers in the draft and what the veteran receivers were getting in free agency.”

This year’s draft is absolutely stacked with elite talent at the receiver position, to be sure. And landing one of the top rookies would have cost the Cowboys significantly less money. As for the amount of money itself, another NFL executive thinks that teams should only pay top dollar for a “difference maker” and made it clear he doesn’t think Cooper is one.

“It comes back down to, how many guys are really difference makers?” another exec said. “That is who you pay the top of the market to. I’m sorry, Amari Cooper helps, but he does not tilt the field. He has not shown up consistently. You can say a lot of negative things about Antonio Brown, but he was a difference maker.”

It’s worth noting that Cooper has been nothing but spectacular for the Cowboys since arriving on the scene midway through the 2018 campaign. In 25 games, he has caught 132 passes for 1,914 yards and 14 touchdowns.

That being said, Dallas is a team with a ton of holes to fill after free agency ravaged the defense. Paying Cooper will certainly be a move that we’ll look back on in a few years with a critical eye.