FRISCO - When Amari Cooper hit free agency in March, there were a few hours there, on that very first day, when Dallas Cowboys Nation thought it might lose him.
To the Washington Football Team, no less.
There was an offer on the table for more money from "another team.'' And since then, Washington coach Ron Rivera has openly said his team pursued Cooper hard and offered a “substantial amount of money.”
So why, late that night, did Amari opt to stay in his new home in North Texas? Fans of ‘America’s Team’ will like this answer.
"I just like everything about being a Dallas Cowboy,'' Cooper said, as seen in the above video. "I love the culture that we've created here and just the atmosphere both inside the building and outside of the building, in terms of being in the city of Dallas and the surrounding areas.''
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These are sentiments that Amari has expressed before.
The new wrinkle? The new contract.
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"I guess that would be the same reason why I was willing to take less money to stay here,'' he continued. "To have the opportunity to be on a team that I really love, I wouldn't trade that for a little bit more money.''
Maybe it makes such a decision easier when you are Cooper in this particular financial situation. In March, Cooper signed one of the largest contracts for any wide receiver in the history of the NFL – a five-year, $100 million deal with the Cowboys.
Some critics later objected to the structure of the deal, as essentially, only the first two seasons are guaranteed. But "escape hatches,'' as our Mike Fisher has written often, are commonplace. And as Amari just turned 26, his future in football figures to be as bright as his present.
In his two seasons and 27 games with Dallas, Cooper has caught 145 passes for 2,085 yards and 15 touchdowns and received two Pro Bowl invitations. In 2020, he looks forward to the opportunity to be part of a rare thing - a trio of wide receivers on the same team who catch 1,000 yards worth of passes.
"The most important thing is I love the way (Cooper) thinks,'' new coach Mike McCarthy said of Amari's "expectation.''
And Cowboys Nation likes the way Amari Cooper talks, too.