Cooper is likely to line up in the slot more frequently after the Cowboys selected CeeDee Lamb with the 17th overall pick in the 2020 draft, NFL analyst Andy Benoit suggests. The addition of Lamb to a receiving corps that already featured standout talents in Cooper and Michael Gallup gives offensive coordinator Kellen Moore a lot of formation flexibility, as both Cooper and Lamb have experience working inside and outside. With Dallas having lost slot receiver Randall Cobb and tight end Jason Witten (166 combined targets) in the offseason, there should be plenty of looks available for everyone, but even if Cooper's target volume somehow decreases as part of a deeper group of receivers, improved efficiency would keep his overall production afloat. In the best-case scenario, of course, the Cowboys' No. 1 wideout would both see more passes thrown his way and be able to do more damage with them.
Cooper is nearing agreement on a five-year, $100 million contract with the Cowboys on Monday, Adam Schefter of ESPN reports. The 25-year-old seemed poised to officially test the open market, but it appears Dallas was able to secure its top wide receiver after the tampering window opened Monday afternoon. Cooper set career highs in yardage (1,189), touchdowns (eight) and YPC (15.1) during 2019 while catching 79 of 119 targets. Quarterback Dak Prescott received the franchise tag earlier in the day, so the Cowboys are set to enter the 2020 season having secured their top two impending free agents.
With Dak Prescott receiving the Cowboys' franchise tag, Cooper will be able to test the free-agent market, Adam Schefter of ESPN reports. The Cowboys will make an honest effort to re-sign their star wide receiver, but there's no question other teams will be interested. Cooper arguably profiles as the top prize on the market, at least in the non-quarterback category. The Cowboys had been hoping for the option to use both a franchise tag and a transition tag this offseason, but the recent completion of a new CBA eliminates that possibility.
Cooper said he wants to spend the rest of his career in Dallas, Jon Machota of The Athletic reports. Cooper can become an unrestricted free agent in a couple weeks but has now made multiple comments about his preference to stay in Dallas. He also mentioned that he's back to full health, after dealing with foot, knee, ankle and thigh injuries at various points throughout 2019. With details of a new collective bargaining agreement still being hashed out, the Cowboys may have the option to use both the franchise and transition tags this offseason, thereby reducing the risk of losing Cooper in free agency. Dak Prescott is expected to get the franchise tag if he doesn't sign a long-term contract before the March 12 tag deadline. Cooper presumably would then get the transition tag, which doesn't involve any draft compensation but does give Dallas the option to match any offer sheet. Both tags allow for long-term contract negotiations through mid-July.
Cooper said he wants to stay in Dallas for a long time, Jane Slater of NFL Network reports. The 25-year-old wideout may prefer to re-sign with the Cowboys, but that doesn't necessarily mean he'll accept a hometown discount. And while the franchise tag would normally give the team a backup plan for retaining a player of Cooper's caliber, the Cowboys will need to use the tag on Dak Prescott if they can't sign the quarterback to a long-term deal before the start of free agency. As such, there's still some chance Cooper ends up with a new team in 2020, though it isn't the most likely scenario.
|* indicates player did not play that week|
|WK||DATE||OPP||OPP RANK||OPP FPTS|
|1||09/14||@Los Angeles Rams||14||19.63|
|5||10/11||New York Giants||29||26.00|
|15||12/21||San Francisco 49ers||11||18.68|
|17||01/03||@New York Giants||29||26.00|
|3 Year Avg||107||67||958||7||45||14.30||136|