As we've discussed before, the Dallas Cowboys had a decision to make with wide receiver Amari Cooper this offseason. It appears they've come to a conclusion, according to ESPN's Adam Schefter. Dallas is set to release Cooper before the new league year begins, saving itself $16 million against the salary cap.
Now Cooper will join and incredibly deep wide receiver free agent class. He had a down year in 2021, catching 68 passes for 865 yards and eight touchdowns. But as a 27-year-old four-time Pro Bowler, he should have plenty of suitors. Here's a look at four teams that make the most sense for him.
Trevor Lawrence is an incredibly talented quarterback who needs two things: protection and pass-catchers. Cooper would instantly give him a solid No. 1 target with the ability to lead a receivers room. Marvin Jones had a solid season for the Jags in 2021 (73 receptions, 832 yards) and Laviska Shenault has a ton of upside (63 receptions, 619 yards) but neither is a No. 1. Cooper has the credibility to be that guy.
Cooper topped 1,000 yards in each season from 2018 to 2020, and in 2020 he had 92 receptions for 1,114 yards. So he's one year removed from from having an excellent season. He could turn his career around quickly with a guy like Lawrence throwing him passes.
The Browns had one of the NFL's worst passing offenses in 2021, averaging only 195.3 yards per game. They dumped Odell Beckham Jr. midway through the season (how'd that work out?) and feature a group of receivers who underachieved in 2021. Cooper could help them get back on track.
Jarvis Landry only caught 52 passes for 570 yards in 12 games last season, while Donovan Peoples-Jones caught 34 passes and led the team with 597 yards in 14 games. If the Browns are truly going to commit to Baker Mayfield, they need to improve his targets. Signing Cooper on a prove-it deal to help elevate the passing game would make a ton of sense for both parties.
Like the Browns, the Eagles struggled to throw the ball in 2021, averaging a meager 200.2 yards per game. While DeVonta Smith racked up 916 yards on 64 receptions as a rookie, and Dallas Goedert looks like the real deal, Philly doesn't have much beyond that. Former first-round Jalen Reagor has been a bust and Quez Watkins isn't a top option. Cooper could give quarterback Jalen Hurts a reliable No. 1 target.
Smith will obviously be the team's top option moving forward, but allowing him to learn under the wing of a guy like Cooper would certainly help his journey to Pro Bowl status. Philly's offense needs a lot of help and adding another receiver is a top priority. Cooper fits the bill of a possession guy who would open things up for everyone else.
New York Jets
Jets rookie quarterback Zach Wilson was terrible in 2021. Despite showing occasional flashes, Wilson looked completely overmatched in the NFL. Part of the reason was a lack of experienced pass-catchers to give him easy throws. Like Lawrence, Wilson needs what all young QBs need: time to throw and targets who get open.
Elijah Moore looks like a keeper as a guy who can play on the outside or in the slot. But Corey Davis, Keelan Cole and Jamison Crowder all underachieved in 2022. Cooper is the exact kind of steady route-runner the Jets could use atop their receiver depth chart.