Steelers need to be on the phone with Cowboys about WR Amari Cooper
By Tommy Jaggi
Cowboys are likely to release star receiver Amari Cooper, but the Pittsburgh Steelers should be the first team asking about a trade.
After a season in which a Super Bowl run seemed within reach, the Dallas Cowboys entered an interesting situation early this offseason. Jerry Jones’ team is currently $13 million in the hole in terms of salary cap space, according to Over the Cap, and analysts have wondered how they were going to try to keep their head above water.
While many Cowboys writers have expressed to me that they would love to be able to backload contracts to keep this competitive window open, the front office doesn’t love the plan of kicking the can down the road. Because of this, some major cap casualties are inevitable.
Recently, Adam Schefter reported that the Cowboys are “likely” to release four-time Pro Bowl wide receiver, Amari Cooper.
This is a very interesting move as Cooper has been an excellent player in Dallas. As you can expect, there would be a handful of teams who would love to bid on Cooper if he became a free agent, and according to reports, Cooper would be free to sign with a new team immediately after being released.
While the Steelers have the cap space to get into a bidding war with a few teams for the talented wide receiver, they should go one step further: reach out to the Cowboys about a trade for Cooper before he is released.
Steelers should inquire about a trade for Cooper
This is something that other teams will no doubt try to do, and the Cowboys only have until March 16th to execute a trade before Amari Cooper’s salary is guaranteed for the 2022 season.
Knowing that Dallas can’t afford to hold onto him, trading for a player as talented as Cooper isn’t going to cost you an arm and a leg — especially considering that a few other high-caliber receivers are set to hit the free-agent market.
However, if the Steelers really like Amari Cooper (and they should), they could throw a mid-to-late-round pick at Dallas for the rights of the 27-year-old receiver. By doing this, Cooper would join Pittsburgh without other teams bidding up the price.
Cooper does have three years remaining on his contract at $22 million per season. Though this seems a bit rich, all of his guarantees have already been paid out by Dallas, and Pittsburgh would have zero dead money if they needed to cut him a year or two from now.
The other alternative is turning around and extending Cooper after trading for him. By doing this, Pittsburgh could move some of his money around and make his cap hit more manageable over the next few years.
JuJu Smith-Schuster, James Washington, and Ray-Ray McCloud are all free agents this year, and Cooper would be a massive upgrade over any of these guys. Pairing Cooper with Diontae Johnson and Chase Claypool would really help out whichever quarterback lands in Pittsburgh next, and they could get this deal done without giving up too much in the process.