• The Dallas Cowboys will try to trade Amari Cooper before resorting to releasing him, a report says 
  • Cooper is coming off a bad season, raising questions on his $20 million annual salary
  • The Cowboys will have a busy offseason trying to fill in holes after falling short last NFL season

The Dallas Cowboys seem to be giving up on Amari Cooper, with reports saying he is likely to be released before the new NFL season starts.

The Cowboys' upcoming plan to potentially release the wide receiver came from ESPN's Adam Schefter, who cited unnamed league sources.

Cooper, a four-time Pro Bowl selection, still has three seasons remaining on the five-year, $100 million contract extension he signed in March 2020. He's due to make $20 million in base salary that becomes fully guaranteed on March 20, the fifth day of the official new NFL year.

Releasing the 27-year-old before June 1 would save the Cowboys $16 million in cap space.

However, Dallas will explore other options first, such as a trade deal, before going through with this plan, NFL Network insider Ian Rapoport reported, citing unnamed sources.

If no deal is reached before the start of the new season, the Cowboys will release the veteran receiver, according to Rapoport.

Cowboys executive vice president Stephen Jones did not give a concrete answer when asked if Cooper will be on the team's roster in 2022.

"It's too early for me to address that yet," Jones was quoted as saying by ESPN from the NFL scouting combine in Indianapolis. "I mean, we're continuing to have conversations."

Cooper is coming off a tough season, recording just 68 receptions for 865 yards and eight touchdowns on 104 targets during 15 appearances. This performance has raised questions on whether the Florida native is worth the $20 million he is due per year.

Ezekiel Elliott eating up the lion's share of the Cowboys’ budget is another factor. This has been affecting the status of other players, and apparently, Cooper is one of them.

With Cooper bound to leave, the Cowboys will face a new problem when it comes to receivers. Aside from Cooper, Michael Gallup, Cedrick Wilson, Noah Brown and Malik Turner are also set to become free agents.

There is a chance that Gallup could be re-signed by Dallas to make sure that CeeDee Lamb won’t be left by his lonesome. But the fact that Gallup is coming off an ACL tear could be a problem, raising questions as well if he would be at 100% when the new NFL season starts.

Further, Dallas could end up using the franchise tag on tight end Dalton Schultz with Blake Jarwin undergoing hip surgery. Jarwin is unlikely to be ready when the 2022 NFL season starts.

Hence, it will be an interesting offseason for the Cowboys with important voids to fill.

As for Cooper, it remains to be seen who among the current NFL teams would be interested in a potential trade.

Amari Cooper Cowboys Eagles
Amari Cooper #19 of the Dallas Cowboys makes a pass reception against Corey Graham #24 of the Philadelphia Eagles at AT&T Stadium on December 09, 2018 in Arlington, Texas. Ronald Martinez/Getty Images