Amari Cooper and his much-discussed contract have been traded to the Cleveland Browns. The contract, signed with the Dallas Cowboys made him the only wide receiver ever to sign a deal worth $100 million in total. At one point, Cooper was the highest-paid wide receiver in terms of average annual value. Let’s take a look at Cooper’s contract, his impact on the Cowboys’ salary cap, and the cost to move on from him in 2022 and beyond.
Update: The Cleveland Browns have traded for Amari Cooper
Amari Cooper’s contract details and bonuses
The Cowboys kept things pretty simple when it came to Cooper’s contract. The total value was exactly $100 million, with an average of $20 million a year. Of that, $10 million came in the form of a signing bonus, and there’s $40 million fully guaranteed overall. His 2022 salary was guaranteed for injury and becomes fully guaranteed if he is on the roster on March 20, 2022.
In terms of the breakdown, from a cap perspective, the first year was kept cheaper at $12 million. Subsequently, the number jumped to $22 million for each of the final four years. Of that, $2 million was in prorated signing bonus, with the other $10 or $20 million (depending on the year) being paid as base salary. It really was a clean and simple contract.
Cooper’s contract has another three years remaining
Cooper was due to be a free agent in 2020 when he signed the deal. This contract was as simple length-wise as the rest of the deal is. The contract was for five years, and Cooper has played out two of those five so far. Therefore, he has three years remaining on the deal and is due to be a free agent in 2025.
However, the structure the Cowboys put in place gave them potential outs at every stage after the first two years. In essence, this contract was a two-year deal worth $40 million, with team options for $20 million a year in every subsequent year.
What is the salary cap impact for the Browns and Cowboys following the trade?
When the Cowboys decided to move on from Cooper and his contract, their dead money situation was always going to be relatively low. That is the beauty of a small signing bonus and then not having restructured the deal since. The $10 million signing bonus was prorated at $2 million a year, and whenever they moved on, the remaining amount would accelerate onto the cap.
Consequently, following the trade with the Browns, the Cowboys take on just $6 million in dead money. The rest of his contract is in the form of base salary and goes with Cooper to his new team.
After trading for Cooper the Browns have plenty of options. His contract is essentially three one-year deals worth $20 million per year. After the 2022 season, the Browns will basically have two club options over the next two seasons. If they want to keep Cooper, he will cost $20 million. If not, they can release him for no dead money at all.
The Browns can also restructure the deal and move some money around, including adding void years. The more money they move out of 2022, the more it will cost them if they do decide to move on after the 2022 season.