NFL

How Close Amari Cooper Was to Leaving the Cowboys

Following months of speculation, the Dallas Cowboys agreed to a five-year, $100 million deal with Pro Bowl wide receiver Amari Cooper to keep him for the long haul. There had been a growing notion around the situation that Cooper was highly interested in making his return to the team despite there not being any significant traction toward a new deal throughout the 2019 campaign. With that said, it was closer than it previously thought with the possibility that the star wideout could leave the franchise.

Cowboys re-sign Amari Cooper

Over the last few months ahead of free agency, Cooper had made it quite clear that he desired to remain with Dallas.

That saw the 25-year-old voice about a month before the start of free agency that he wanted to be a “Cowboy for life.” Despite that, the path toward a new deal with the team took an interesting direction that was influenced by teammate Dak Prescott being in the same situation with his contract expired.

It led to the Cowboys deciding to place the franchise tag on Prescott instead of Cooper, which had come to be an expected move. That put some uncertainty over his future with the team as it allowed him to enter free agency.

Dallas may have wound up retaining Cooper on a lucrative deal that made him the second-highest-paid player at his position, but it didn’t come without the real possibility of playing elsewhere.

Redskins were in heavy pursuit of Amari Cooper

With the Cowboys electing to place their lone franchise tag on Prescott, it opened up the opportunity for Cooper to at least explore the free-agent market.

That saw the Washington Redskins slide into the picture with the hopes of snatching away their NFC East division rival’s best passing game weapon. According to Peter Hailey of NBC Sports Washington, head coach Ron Rivera voiced that the Redskins had made a serious push to secure Cooper with a “substantial” offer.

“Amari is someone we chased, and we chased very hard all the way up to the very end when he decided to return to Dallas,” Rivera said. “We were in it. We were talking about a substantial amount of money.”

It had been reported that Washington was a primary reason why the Cowboys had to increase their offer to the star wideout to a $100 million deal. That alone may have been the tipping point of what pushed things in Dallas’ favor to get a deal done.

The fact that the Redskins were in the race to the end shows their desire to add premium talent to the roster in their rebuild with second-year quarterback Dwayne Haskins leading the charge. Beyond that, it signals that the team has eyes on adding more help at the position alongside emerging star wide receiver Terry McLaurin to push the process along.

Did Amari Cooper make the right choice?

In the end, Cooper chose to return to the Cowboy as the team gave him the type of deal he was eyeing, but beyond that provided him the best chance to compete for a Super Bowl.

The Redskins could have something brewing over the next few seasons, but the team is clearly in a rebuild mode. Meanwhile, the Cowboys have promising talent on both sides of the ball to make a serious push for the playoffs and possibly further.

Cooper has also already built some strong chemistry with Prescott over the last couple of seasons that will allow him to continue to produce at a high level. It would have been quite an interesting situation had he left Dallas, but that may have always been the path that was going to unfold this offseason.