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Sources — WR Amari Cooper to sign 5-year, $100M deal with Cowboys
11:05 PM ET
  • Todd ArcherESPN Staff Writer

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    • Covered NFL since 1997, Cowboys since 2003
    • Previously covered Bengals and Dolphins
    • Lives in Dallas area with his wife and two children

FRISCO, Texas — After securing Dak Prescott for at least 2020 with the exclusive franchise tag earlier in the day, the Dallas Cowboys prevented Amari Cooper from leaving via free agency later Monday with a five-year, $100 million deal, league sources told ESPN Insider Adam Schefter.

The Cowboys’ goal of keeping Prescott and Cooper was made somewhat more difficult with the passing over the weekend of the new collective bargaining agreement, which allows them to use just one tag, rather than two.

To keep both players, the Cowboys made Cooper the second-highest-paid receiver in the NFL in annual average, after Atlanta’s Julio Jones, who makes $22 million per season. A source told ESPN’s Josina Anderson that Cooper’s deal includes $60 million guaranteed.

The Washington Redskins pursued Cooper earlier Monday and tried to pry him away before Dallas re-signed him, according to Schefter.

Last summer, the Cowboys made Ezekiel Elliott the highest-paid running back, and in order to get Prescott to sign a long-term deal, they might have to make him the highest-paid quarterback in the game, surpassing the $35 million per season of Seattle’s Russell Wilson.

A team source told ESPN’s Chris Mortensen that the Cowboys’ offer to Prescott is worth more than the deals for Jared Goff ($33.5 million per year) and Carson Wentz ($32 million), but Prescott is seeking a four-year deal, and the Cowboys are asking for a five-year deal.

Under franchise tag rules, the Cowboys have until July 15 to sign Prescott to a multiyear contract, or he will have to play the season under the tag. By placing the exclusive tag, which is expected to be worth $30 million to $33 million, on Prescott, the Cowboys have prevented other teams from signing him.

This is the fourth time since 2014 that the Cowboys have used the franchise designation, and it’s the first time they have used it on a quarterback.

In 2015, the Cowboys used the tag on wide receiver Dez Bryant, but they were able to sign him to a five-year, $70 million deal before the July 15 deadline. They placed the tag on defensive end DeMarcus Lawrence in 2018 and 2019 before signing the Pro Bowler to a five-year, $105 million deal in April 2019.

Last offseason, Dallas hoped to sign Prescott to an extension that would have guaranteed him nine figures, but the quarterback bet on himself, choosing to play for $2 million in 2019. He responded with career highs in yards (4,902) and touchdown passes (30).

Cooper made $13.9 million last season on the fifth-year option of his rookie deal, but the two sides didn’t really engage in contract discussions until recently.

After his arrival from the Raiders in a trade for a first-round pick in the middle of the 2018 season, Cooper helped transform the passing game for the Cowboys. In 2019, he caught 79 passes for 1,189 yards and a career-high eight touchdowns. He was added to the Pro Bowl for the fourth time in his career.

Cooper, who turns 26 on June 17, was on pace for one of the best seasons by a receiver in team history through the first nine games of the previous season, including a 226-yard effort against Green Bay, but then his numbers trailed off significantly.

Cooper caught just 26 passes for 341 yards and a touchdown in the final seven games and was held without a catch vs. the New England Patriots in Week 12 for the first time since he joined Dallas.

In 2018, the Cowboys won seven of their nine games with Cooper to win the NFC East and make the playoffs. He caught 53 passes for 725 yards and six touchdowns immediately after the trade, including a 217-yard effort against the Philadelphia Eagles.

The Prescott-to-Cooper connection has been one of the best in the NFL since they became a tandem. On multiple occasions, both players said they wanted to sign long-term with the Cowboys.

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