Cooper is due $20 million in fully guaranteed money on the fifth day of the new league year, March 20. The Cowboys designed Cooper's $100 million contract in a way in which they could get out of the deal for a relative pittance after two seasons. If they cut Cooper, he would count $6 million against the salary cap, not $22 million.
For a team that is projected to be more than $21 million over the cap, every dollar counts -- especially with so many unsigned key free agents such as defensive end Randy Gregory, tight end Dalton Schultz, linebacker Leighton Vander Esch and safety Jayron Kearse.
If the Cowboys cut Cooper, they could face a lot of turnover at the receiver spot in 2022. CeeDee Lamb is set, but Michael Gallup (who tore an ACL late last season) and Cedrick Wilson are set to be free agents. The Cowboys have been working on a new deal with Gallup and an agreement is considered "close," sources said.
Cooper finished with 865 yards on 68 receptions with eight touchdowns in his 15 games. He had two 100-yard games in the first seven weeks and none in his last eight games. He had three games with two receptions and one with three. Cooper missed two games last season after testing positive for COVID-19.
Information from ESPN's Todd Archer was used in this report.