Should Patriots Pursue Amari Cooper After Wideout’s Likely Release?

Cooper has five 1,000-yard seasons on his record


Mar 4, 2022

The New England Patriots need help at wide receiver this offseason, and a four-time Pro Bowler reportedly is set to hit the open market.

The Dallas Cowboys are “likely” to release veteran wideout Amari Cooper rather than pay him his $20 million salary that becomes guaranteed March 20, according to a report Friday from ESPN’s Adam Schefter.

That report suggests Dallas attempted to trade Cooper, who is coming off a down season, but found no takers. Any team trading for Cooper would take on that salary. If released, he’d be free to sign with any team for any value at any time, without needing to wait for the March 16 start of free agency.

Would Cooper make sense for the Patriots, who lacked a true No. 1 receiver this season? He certainly has the talent, surpassing 1,000 receiving yards in five of his first six pro seasons and catching 46 touchdown passes since he entered the NFL in 2015, ninth-most during that span. He’s just 27 years old (28 in June), has good size (6-foot-1, 210 pounds), can line up outside or in the slot, and played for Nick Saban at Alabama.

This could come down to price, however. If Cooper commands top-end receiver money in free agency, the Patriots — who currently have less than $10 million in available cap space — most likely would be unable or unwilling to bring him aboard.

Cooper also saw his production diminish this season, posting his lowest reception (65), yardage (865) and catch rate (65.4%) marks since 2017 as he slipped below second-year pro CeeDee Lamb in the Cowboys’ wideout hierarchy. And, for what it’s worth, the Patriots always have been able to successfully limit Cooper, holding him to eight catches on 17 targets for 83 yards and one touchdown across three career meetings.

Still, if cut, Cooper would become one of the top wideouts available, joining a free agent class headlined by Davante Adams, Chris Godwin, Allen Robinson, Mike Williams and the recently injured Odell Beckham Jr. We also could see some notable receivers traded in the coming weeks — Atlanta’s Calvin Ridley is one potential option there — and this year’s draft is deep and talented at the position, with prospects showing off eye-popping speed Thursday night at the NFL Scouting Combine.

The Patriots currently have Kendrick Bourne, Nelson Agholor, N’Keal Harry and a trio of future signees (Kristian Wilkerson, Tre Nixon and Malcolm Perry) under contract for the 2022 season, with Jakobi Meyers and Gunner Olszewski set to hit restricted free agency.

Thumbnail photo via Mark J. Rebilas/USA TODAY Sports Images
NFL: Seattle Seahawks at Minnesota Vikings
Previous Article

Seahawks RB Chris Carson Progressing Well Post-Surgery

New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick
Next Article

Recent History Suggests Patriots Shouldn’t Break Bank For Receiver

Picked For You