Several weeks ago at the Senior Bowl, Dallas Cowboys VP Stephen Jones said a new deal for Amari Cooper was offseason priority No. 2 -- after getting a new deal for quarterback Dak Prescott. And with the potentially thorny Prescott situation still playing out (NFL Network's Mike Garafolo reported that the Cowboys are expected to use the franchise tag on Prescott, while the QB is determined to land a long-term extension), it's reasonable to consider the various scenarios that could unfold with Cooper this offseason.
Cooper just finished the final season of his rookie contract. In the first five seasons of his NFL career -- he spent three full seasons with the Raiders, then split 2018 between the Raiders and the Cowboys after being traded in October -- Cooper logged four 1,000-yard receiving seasons, with his best campaign coming in 2019. In his first full season with the Cowboys, he posted career-high marks in receiving yards (1,189) and touchdowns (eight).
The 2015 first-round pick recently expressed his desire to stay in Dallas and said the next deal he signs is about location and the situation in addition to compensation.
We're roughly a month away from free agency, so it's the perfect time to look at where Cooper could play in the 2020 season. Here are my top landing spots for Cooper:
1) DALLAS COWBOYS: From a pure football standpoint, Cooper being in Dallas makes the most sense. He's been there for a year and a half and has built a rapport with quarterback Dak Prescott, benefiting the passer's production when they're both on the field. New Cowboys coach Mike McCarthy loves a talented playmaker on the perimeter and will make it his mission to get that competitiveness and fire out of Cooper. The star receiver would do well in McCarthy's offense and would be Dallas' best option after looking at the receiver market.
2) PHILADELPHIA EAGLES: I don't see Jerry Jones breaking the bank for Cooper, and if Dallas' offer isn't up to his standard, it will only take one team to put big money on the table for Cooper to leave. It wouldn't surprise me if Eagles general manager Howie Roseman came calling. There's no doubt Cooper could help this offense, which was extremely thin at the wide receiver position last season, with injuries plaguing nearly every starter. Cooper's production doesn't always match his crazy ability, but I believe he'd do well paired with a player like Alshon Jeffery. Cooper wouldn't draw all of the attention, and he wouldn't have to be "the guy" for the Eagles. Plus, he'd have a field day facing the Cowboys' secondary twice a year.
3) BUFFALO BILLS: The Bills are one receiver away from having one of the top offenses in the league, especially after Josh Allen made the leap in Year 2. John Brown can take the top off the defense, Cole Beasley is a solid slot guy and Cooper would give Allen a playmaker who can win one-on-one situations and clear out the box for the run game.
4) DENVER BRONCOS: Although Courtland Sutton had a breakout campaign in 2019, losing veteran Emmanuel Sanders midway through the season via trade hurt. The Broncos have a good ground attack and defense but need another dynamic playmaker in the pass game for QB Drew Lock. Why not sign Cooper? He would certainly improve this unit and do well in a situation where he doesn't have to be the No. 1 guy, pairing with another Pro Bowl-caliber player like Sutton to form a nightmare duo. The only thing I don't like about Cooper being in Denver is he'd be in the AFC West (sorry, Derek).
5) ARIZONA CARDINALS: Playing with Larry Fitzgerald, who signed a one-year extension with the Cardinals last month, could be the best thing for the 25-year-old wideout. Cooper can run any route, and his physical ability is off the charts, but he really needs to learn how to play the position in all aspects, from blocking to competitiveness to playing every down full out. Cooper would pair well with the future Hall of Famer and give Offensive Rookie of the Year Kyler Murray a much-needed weapon in the Air Raid offense.