The Dallas Cowboys have had a very busy week, and with free agency starting in less than one week, things are going to continue to be operating in a wild manner. It is exciting as the Cowboys are seemingly focusing more intently on both the here and now and their future. Dallas finally took care of Dak Prescott which took the biggest question that has plagued them for two years out of play, and now that they are over the hump they can begin to dot other i’s and cross other t’s.
In order to be legitimate (using that word loosely) players in free agency the Cowboys obviously need some cap space. They created about $17M in space just after Prescott’s press conference celebrating his new deal as they restructured the deals of Zack Martin, Tyron Smith, and La’el Collins.
Noticeably absent from the restructures list was wide receiver Amari Cooper. To be clear we are just looking at things as far as what they seem to be in this moment, meaning that things can always change, but it seems like the team might be setting up a decision at wide receiver next offseason.
The Cowboys might be setting up a 2022 decision between Amari Cooper and Michael Gallup
To reiterate, it is possible that the Cowboys restructure other deals in the coming days, weeks or months, but Amari Cooper seemed like one that they would address sooner rather than later if they were going to. When the team signed Cooper to his extension a year ago it was evident that the Cowboys could escape the contract in the 2022 offseason if they chose to do so. After the team drafted CeeDee Lamb in the first round last year that set up a hypothetical where he and Michael Gallup are the team’s future at the position.
Dallas would have to absorb $6M in dead salary cap space if they moved on from Amari after this coming season, but that is obviously not the biggest hurdle to cross relatively speaking. This is important given that Michael Gallup is entering a contract year.
Cooper will turn 27 this summer, and while he has three years on Gallup as far as NFL experience is concerned, that will only make him two years older in terms of actual age. There is no question that Cooper is the better wide receiver in the here and now, this is said with absolutely no disrespect intended towards Gallup, but the future might be a different conversation, especially after this coming season.
While Gallup had fewer receptions, receiving yards, and touchdowns this past season than he did the year before, a lot of that obviously can be attributed to Dak Prescott going down with injury. It stands to reason that with a full season with number four that the growth we saw from Gallup throughout 2020 would have been more evident in the stat sheets.
Perhaps the Cowboys will restructure Amari Cooper this offseason and tie themselves to him a little more tightly for the 2022 season, but if they do not they are leaving themselves with the option of making a decision next offseason. This is a wise move as it allows them the largest room for flexibility as so much can happen throughout an NFL season.