Why Amari Cooper would be great fit for Bears


Ryan Poles and the Bears have been hard at work, evaluating their roster and the free agent market, which is set to open up in under two weeks. On Friday, that market got a lot more interesting.

It’s no secret that wide receiver is one of the biggest areas of need for the Bears. Darnell Mooney is the only significant contributor from last year’s roster returning in 2022. With plenty of talent available in both free agency and the draft, Poles will almost certainly take several swings at finding a playmaker in each. If Cooper is in fact released, he would likely move towards the top of the Bears’ list too.

Let’s go over the good. Cooper has crossed the 1,000 yard threshold in five of his seven career seasons (this includes his 1,005 combined yards between the Raiders and Cowboys in 2018). He averages 6.6 touchdowns per year. For all the questions about his durability, Cooper has only missed five games over his entire NFL career. And he’s only going to be 28 years old this season.

One trait both Poles and Matt Eberflus have said they’ll be targeting in wide receivers is explosive playmaking ability, and Cooper has that too. He’s a deceptive route runner who sets up defenders with excellent releases. He’s especially effective at creating separation with double moves, since he’s so good at selling routes, too.

Cooper is also versatile enough that he can win on the outside, or in the slot, allowing the Bears to move him around to create favorable matchups. Pairing him with Mooney would undoubtedly give them a formidable one-two punch. Cooper’s innate ability to create separation would help Justin Fields in his sophomore season, too, by providing him some easier targets. The only issue is the Bears likely won’t be the only team interested.

Players of Cooper’s caliber don’t hit the market very often, and with the strong possibility of the Packers retaining Davante Adams and the Chargers bringing Mike Williams back to Los Angeles, Cooper would shoot to the top of the market alongside Chris Godwin. While Cooper may not earn the $20 million he was set to make in Dallas, he will likely fetch a sizable contract. In the end he may fall outside the Bears’ budget.

It’s worth noting the Bears only have 47 players under contract heading into 2022, with just over $25.6 million in cap space. They’ll have to be creative with their salary cap accounting and can’t afford too many top-tier contracts. With so many holes on the roster, and so many talented wide receivers about to enter the league in the draft, Poles may decide to spend in free agency elsewhere. But if he does shell out for Cooper, the Bears will have gone a long way towards solving their playmaker problem.

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