When the Dallas Cowboys take the field for the 2022 season, they could look very different on offense and defense.
While the Cowboys are bringing back head coach Mike McCarthy, there could major changes coming as the team could have two major roster cuts this offseason in wide receiver Amari Cooper and defensive end DeMarcus Lawrence.
“Feels like this is where things are heading. Stephen sounded like he was laying the foundation for it this week, and a number of people connected to the decisions are anticipating it to come to fruition. Both players are still stars and wouldn’t be unemployed for very long,” Bobby Belt tweeted.
Cooper has three seasons remaining on his five-year, $100 million contract but the Cowboys have a potential out on his deal this offseason. The star receiver is set to have a $22 million cap hit in 2022. Not only that, the WR proved to be very controverisla down the stretch as he complained about not getting enough targets during the game. The WR also missed a few games due to the fact that he is unvaccinated, which cost the team greatly.
As far as Lawrence goes, he still has two seasons remaining on his five-year, $105 million contract and is slated to have a $19 million salary in 2022, but the Cowboys have an out in his deal to save a ton of money if they release him.
It was Cowboys vice president Stephen Jones who hinted at potential cuts when he admitted that “you want them to be the best at what they do” when responding about Cooper’s contract.
“Well, it’s sometimes not all on the receiver, too,” Jones told reporters at the Senior Bowl on February 2. “It’s scheme, it’s getting the receiver the ball, the touches, the targets that he needs. But if you’re gonna pay somebody a lot of money, you want them to be the best at what they do.
“Whether that’s catching, whether that’s yards, whether that’s receptions, whether that’s touchdowns. Whether that’s throwing touchdown passes, winning football games, if you’re a quarterback. Whether it’s a running back, if you’re getting your touches and you’re scoring touchdowns and you’re running for yards, I mean all those things.
“If you’re a pass rusher, you want to be getting pressure and making plays, all those things relate to how a guy’s paid. And once you pay that player a lot of money, then with that comes high expectations. And they know that, these players know that, they compete at the highest levels.”
Last month, Cooper admitted he did not know if he would be back with the Cowboys next season.
“I don’t make those decisions,” Cooper noted during a January 16 press conference. “I honestly don’t know but hopefully.”
The Cowboys are coming off a disappointing finish to the 2021-22 season and which they dominated every team in the NFC East with a 6-0 record, won the division and earned the No. 3 seed in the conference. However, the team from Arlington got taken down by the San Francisco 49ers in the Wild Card round after Dak Prescott’s ill-timed run from the pocket with just seconds left to play with no timeouts doomed the team right into the offseason.