There’s nothing wrong with a player in any sport signing with the absolute highest bidder as a free agent. It’s their career and their life. Players have short careers and it’s fine to prioritize making the most money possible. That’s business.
Yet, how many players have messed with happiness by leaving a team they like for a little more money?
Amari Cooper was a free agent this offseason and says he could have made more than the $100 million he got from the Dallas Cowboys. But he didn’t want to mess with happiness. He’s happy with the Cowboys. And $100 million was more than fair.
Amari Cooper loves the Cowboys
In speaking to reporters Tuesday, Cooper said he had an offer for more money when he hit free agency. Washington coach Ron Rivera has openly said his team pursued Cooper hard and offered a “substantial amount of money.”
It’s pretty easy to figure out that Cooper is talking about picking Dallas over Washington. And what Cooper had to say about his decision will warm the hearts of Cowboys fans.
“I just like everything about being a Dallas Cowboy,” Cooper said. “I love the culture we’ve created here, and just the atmosphere both in the building and outside of the building in terms of being in the city of Dallas and the surrounding areas.
“I guess that would be the same reasons why I was willing to take less money to stay here. That coupled with the fact I had a privilege of playing on a different team, I understand every culture isn’t the same, every city isn’t the same and every team isn’t the same. Me being able to see that while being on another team and having the opportunity to be on a team I really love, I wouldn’t trade that for a little bit more money.”
Cowboys weren't Amari Cooper's highest bidder in free agency. But he's glad he stayed.— Jori Epstein (@JoriEpstein) August 4, 2020
"Having the opportunity to be on a team I really love—I wouldn't trade that for a little bit more money," Amari told us today. pic.twitter.com/30qn544CDF
It’s a good sign for the Cowboys that players enjoy being there so much they are willing to take a discount to stay.
Cooper took a discount, Dak Prescott hasn’t
Cooper has plenty of reasons to like Dallas. Dak Prescott is his quarterback (for this season, anyway) and he’s better than Washington quarterback Dwayne Haskins Jr. Dallas has a much better shot to compete for a Super Bowl in the next few seasons than Washington. And $100 million is more than enough money to live on. Cooper got $60 million guaranteed from the Cowboys.
Of course, there’s a parallel to be made with Prescott, and surely Cowboys fans will make it. Prescott didn’t sign a long-term deal with Dallas when he didn’t feel it reflected his market value. He’ll play on the franchise tag this season. Cooper taking a discount will cause people to wonder why Prescott doesn’t do the same.
Every player has to choose what’s right for him, and just because one player takes less money doesn’t mean anyone else should feel obligated to do the same. For Cooper, being a Cowboy was worth taking a little less money. He probably won’t regret that decision.
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