Amari Cooper is traded by the Dallas Cowboys to the Cleveland Browns

Upon his arrival in 2018, Amari Cooper reinvigorated the Dallas Cowboys’ anemic passing attack.

Now, it remains to be seen what Dallas can do without him.

Also read: Opinion: Cowboys would make a big mistake if they let receiver Amari Cooper go.

Instead of paying his $20 million salary this season, a source confirmed to The Dallas Morning News on Saturday that the Cowboys traded Cooper to the Cleveland Browns.

That figure was completely guaranteed if he was still on the Dallas roster on the fifth day of the league year, which is March 21.

Trading him now opens up $16 million in cap space for a team that has a lot of work to do to beef up its offense and defense.

Cooper will now become a prime target for Browns quarterback Baker Mayfield.

In exchange, the Cowboys acquired the fifth and sixth round picks with the Browns.

None of this comes as a surprise.

Dallas set this stage in March 2020 when it signed Cooper to a five-year, $100 million deal with guaranteed money invested in the first two seasons.

The deal was structured to coincide with catcher Michael Gallup’s foray into the free-agent market.

The verdict: Gallup, despite a torn cruciate ligament in his knee, which is expected to delay the start of his season, is the younger and cheaper option going forward.

The scales probably tipped in Gallup’s direction the moment CeeDee Lamb began to shine for the Cowboys as a dependable receiver.

Lamb will be the Cowboys’ primary receiver in 2022 and Gallup will remain in his supporting role.

Entering last season, Cooper told reporters that he considered himself the best receiver in the NFL.

“Do I think I’m the best? Yes,” she declared.

Cooper has been remarkably consistent since entering the NFL in 2015.

He has averaged 73.8 receptions in his seven seasons and gained more than 1,000 yards five times.

What Cooper hasn’t done is put together a breakout season.

His 92 receptions in the 2020 campaign tied for 11th among receivers in the league, easily the highest in the rankings.

He has twice finished in the top 10 in receiving yards, but near the bottom of that range both times.

Those stats sank in 2021.

Cooper finished with 68 receptions for 865 yards and eight touchdowns, ranking third on the team in receptions behind Lamb and tight end Dalton Schultz.

He ranked 39th in the league in receptions, one behind Tampa Bay running back Leonard Fournette.

After opening with 13 receptions for 139 yards and two touchdowns against Tampa Bay, Cooper only had one 100-plus-yard game all season.

That came when backup Cooper Rush started for an injured Dak Prescott against Minnesota.

Cooper went the final eight games of the regular season without a 100-yard game, his longest stretch since joining the Cowboys midway through the 2018 season.

He only had 30 receptions and averaged 46.2 yards per game during that stretch, leading him to publicly complain about his role with the team in late December.

Opponents limited Cooper to 55 yards or less in nine games.

He had only one reception of 40 or more yards and averaged 12.7 yards per reception, the second-lowest total of his career, and missed two games with covid-19.

Cooper refused to be vaccinated.

Quarterback Dak Prescott and Cooper enjoyed a good working relationship after the Cowboys brought him back in October of the 2018 season from the Raiders.

He had been Prescott’s main target ever since, but that connection seemed to erode over the course of last season.

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Amari Cooper is traded by the Dallas Cowboys to the Cleveland Browns