The Amari Cooper era in Dallas could be coming to a close.
The Cowboys are "likely" to release Cooper before the new league year begins on March 16, according to ESPN insider Adam Schefter.
For the Cowboys, moving on from the four-time Pro Bowl wideout should not come as much of a surprise for contractual reasons. Cooper, who is two years into a five-year contract he signed in 2020, is due $20 million on the fifth day of the NFL's new league year, which is March 20.
Cooper's initial contract, a five-year, $100 million deal, has an out-clause this offseason. By releasing Cooper, the Cowboys only have to take on a $6 million dead cap hit. If the wideout were to remain on Dallas' roster in 2022, he'd carry a $22 million cap hit.
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Dallas' decision to move on from Cooper is likely a financial one, as he was plenty productive during his tenure with the Cowboys. In three-plus seasons (56 games) with Dallas, Cooper totaled 292 receptions for 3,893 yards and 27 touchdowns. Cooper recorded two 1,100-plus-yard seasons with Dallas and was named to the Pro Bowl twice over that span.
Moving on from Cooper is certainly a tough decision for the Cowboys, but Dallas still has talent at the position. CeeDee Lamb overtook Cooper as the team's No. 1 wide receiver in 2021 and is already one of the best young receivers in the league. Dallas reportedly would like to return Michael Gallup this offseason, too, who is set to be a free agent come mid-March.
Once Dallas does officially release Cooper, don't rule out Washington inquiring about his services.
The Commanders made a hefty offer to Cooper in free agency in 2020, Ron Rivera's first offseason as head coach. Washington offered Cooper more money than Dallas did, but the wideout opted to stay with the Cowboys.
And, as it's been well documented by now, Washington still needs help at the wide receiver position, even if both Rivera and general manager Martin Mayhew raved about the team's current depth at the spot.
The 2022 free-agent class, headlined by Mike Williams, Chris Godwin, Allen Robinson and (maybe) Davante Adams, has talent at wide receiver. Add Cooper, a four-time Pro Bowler, to that mix and there are a lot of good options for wide receiver-needy teams to inquire about over the coming weeks. Buckle up.