Cowboys WR Cooper says he won't hold outReuters | Dallas | Updated: 13-06-2019 09:08 IST | Created: 13-06-2019 09:01 IST
Preparing for his first training camp with the Dallas Cowboys, wide receiver Amari Cooper is also entering the final season of his rookie contract. However, the 24-year-old is far more focused on his team than his contract, and he vows to continue to practice through the offseason and not hold out in hopes of forcing the Cowboys' hand.
"I just handle my business," Cooper told reporters Wednesday at the Cowboys' minicamp in Frisco, Texas. "I'm more anxious about camp and actually playing football. ... "I just want to get better and I love football. That's why I'm here. I love coming out here doing seven-on-seven, routes on air, team periods and being able to showcase my ability. To be able to run routes, that's like the greatest thing to me. It's kind of like an art to me. It's like a painter drawing or something like that. That's how I feel every time I run a route."
The Cowboys acquired Cooper from the Oakland Raiders last October in exchange for a 2019 first-round pick. After grabbing 22 balls for 280 yards and one touchdown in six games with Oakland, Cooper was a revelation for Dallas. In nine games, the 2015 first-round pick had 53 catches for 725 yards and six touchdowns, earning his third Pro Bowl selection despite the limited time with the team.
Drafted fourth overall out of Alabama by the Raiders in 2015, Cooper had consecutive 1,000-yard seasons -- and consecutive Pro Bowl berths -- in his first two seasons. But his numbers dipped in his third season in 2017 (48 catches and 680 yards -- though he did score seven touchdowns), and when new coach Jon Gruden took over in 2018, his days in Oakland were numbered.
He is due $13.9 million for the 2019 season thanks to his fifth-year option. Odell Beckham is the highest-paid receiver in the league currently, making $18 million per season as he approaches his first season with the Cleveland Browns. Antonio Brown ($16.7 million), Mike Evans ($16.5 million) and DeAndre Hopkins ($16.2 million) are next on the list. And receivers including Julio Jones, Mike Thomas and A.J. Green are also in talks for new deals with their teams. But when it comes to measuring his contract against those of other receivers, Cooper said, "I ain't counting nobody's pockets."