Saints Free Agency: Signing Amari Cooper would be a dream come true

Amari Cooper #19 of the Dallas Cowboys. (Photo by Jonathan Bachman/Getty Images)
Amari Cooper #19 of the Dallas Cowboys. (Photo by Jonathan Bachman/Getty Images) /

Let’s get this out of the way: the New Orleans Saints cannot afford Cowboys wide receiver Amari Cooper even if Dallas were to release him in 2022.

But what’s the harm in a little fantasy?

Adam Schefter recently reported that the Cowboys were “likely” to release Cooper by the start of the 2022 season despite Cooper still being under contract with the team.

Cooper’s market value, per Spotrac, is estimated to be around $17 million per year, comparable to Seattle’s Tyler Lockett or Rams’ Robert Woods. The Cowboys’ choice to potentially release Cooper would give them more cap space to sign tight end Dalton Schultz, who is set to enter free agency this year.

There’s a good argument in picking Schultz over Cooper, but Cooper’s productions levels in the last three years certainly warrants at least a WR2 on any NFL team. If Cooper is released, count on many teams opening their wallets to cash in on the highly talented offensive weapon.

New Orleans Saints can put Amari Cooper on their wish list for 2022

At NOLA, Cooper would fit right alongside Michael Thomas as one of two elite wideouts in the receiver room. Though the Saints’ quarterback situation remains up in the air, Cooper has established himself as one of the top-tier receiving talents in the league, posting back-to-back 1,000-yard seasons in 2019 and 2020.

In 2021, Cooper caught 68 passes for 865 yards and averaged 12.7 yards per catch. Even in Dallas’ competitive wide receiver room, Cooper’s numbers prove he can still command targets and find the end zone — bringing him on would be arguably NOLA’s biggest season-altering transaction yet.

Of course, the Saints’ don’t have the money to afford him, and there’s no indication Cooper wants to move to New Orleans anyway. Jameis Winston feels like a downgrade from Dak Prescott, and without the money, the Saints don’t have much to offer Cooper in terms of tangible assets.

There’s no doubt that Cooper would automatically make the Saints a playoff-contending team (assuming they re-sign Winston), but sadly that dream just isn’t going to happen.

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Shoot for the moon and the stars, and land back on Earth. A receiver of Andy Isabella’s caliber would be much more realistic as this point.