FRISCO (SILVER STAR NATION) — The Dallas Cowboys made headlines over the weekend after moving on from a star wide receiver and signing another to a five-year extension.
On Saturday, March 12, the team announced a trade that would send Amari Cooper to the Cleveland Browns, along with a sixth-round draft pick, in exchange for a fifth-round and sixth-round pick.
The move baffled many Cowboys fans, leaving them wondering how the team could let such a talented and beloved player go when getting so little in return, especially when the Cowboys spent a first round pick to get him to Dallas in the first place.
However, the move isn’t completely out of nowhere.
As early as March 4, eight days prior to the trade, Bobby Belt, Cowboys Insider for DFW radio station 105.3 The Fan, reported the Cowboys were likely getting ready to cut Cooper.
Cooper’s $20 million salary cap figure is the key reason the Cowboys seemed likely to cut him. Ridding the team of Cooper’s contract frees up desperately needed salary cap space.
When the options available are to cut Cooper and free up the salary cap space, or to trade Cooper, which would also free up the salary cap space and possibly give them something, anything, in return, it’s a pretty obvious choice.
The move immediately moves third-year star wide receiver CeeDee Lamb to the top spot of the Cowboys depth chart. The 2020 first-round draft selection is arguably the most talented receiver in a draft class full of talented receivers. The only question is whether or not Lamb will be up for the challenge, a question only time will answer.
Additionally, as mentioned above, the move frees up over $16 million in cap space, which the Cowboys quickly committed to Michael Gallup.
Gallup is returning on a $62.5 million, five-year contract, two people with knowledge of the agreement said Sunday.
Gallup was a focus in free agency for the Cowboys despite tearing the anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee in the second to last game of the regular season. Club officials have expressed optimism about Gallup’s recovery.
A healthy Gallup has shown the potential to be a strong second option for quarterback Dak Prescott.
A third-round pick in 2018, Gallup had his best season in his second year with career highs in catches (66), yards (1,107) and touchdowns (six).
This still leaves some cap space available for the Cowboys with free agency set to officially begin on Wednesday, March 16.
Other than trading Cooper and extending Gallup, the Cowboys have made a few other moves in the offseason:
- TE Dalton Shultz receives franchise tag, Cowboys working on long-term deal
- Cowboys waive TE Blake Jarwin
- Cowboys cut K Greg Zuerlein
- Cowboys sign WR Noah Brown to 1-year deal
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