Since the NFL and its players agreed to a new Collective Bargaining Agreement there was only one tag available for each team. With the Cowboys applying theirs to Dak it meant that, barring a sudden long-term contract extension, wide receiver Amari Cooper would hit the open market.
While we are only in the legal tampering phase of free agency the reality is that Cooper and his agents can now negotiate with other teams if they wish. Wednesday at 4 PM ET is when deals can officially be signed, but there is a lot of time between now and then.
The market for Amari is one that “appears strong”
We don’t know what Cooper will end up getting in free agency, but it is starting to appear as if it is going to be something sizable. He is without question the best wide receiver on the market.
NFL Network’s Jane Slater noted that the Philadelphia Eagles wouldn’t be in on him because he was in fact going to be so highly-priced. ESPN’s Ed Werder noted that the market does indeed appear strong and that multiple teams feel this way.
The market for #Cowboys WR Amari Cooper appears strong. Two teams with interest in Cooper had same perspective. One coach said, “He’s going to command a ton.” The other: “Amari is too expensive.”— Ed Werder (@WerderEdESPN) March 16, 2020
Considering the landscape of the wide receiver position it stands to reason that Cooper’s representation wants something in the neighborhood of $20M per year (Julio Jones is at $22M, Michael Thomas is at $19.25M).
For the sake of understanding what Cooper might ultimately get it is important to note that he has an extreme amount of leverage against the Cowboys. For starters, there is the fact that they traded a first-round pick for him less than two years ago, there is all of the on-field production that he has, and there is the fact that the Cowboys quarterback is someone that the team is clearly willing to commit at least a franchise tag’s worth of money to.
The view is that the Cowboys absolutely need to lock down Cooper, a point that his representation is likely clinging to. Time will tell as far as what he ends up getting and with who it is, but it does seem like it is going to take a lot to keep him.