We just knew this was going to be a conversation at some point. Since the moment the Dallas Cowboys signed Amari Cooper to a $100 million contract, it was evident that he was bound to be a conversation eventually. Why? It’s a team-friendly deal. And as such, it gives the Cowboys options.

As it stands right now, the Cowboys are over $13 million over the cap, per OTC.com. With a heavy class of players set to hit free agency including Randy Gregory, Michael Gallup, and Dalton Schultz, it will be an interesting offseason for the front office.

That means the Cowboys are looking for options. Any options. Therefore, Amari Cooper has been at the center of plenty of conversations in Cowboys Nation. If the franchise was to move on for the player they traded a first-round pick away for in 2018, they could open up a significant amount of money in their salary cap.

To be specific, they’d save $16M in cap space while only dealing with two million in dead money.

Does moving on from the team’s WR1 make sense financially speaking? Sure, somewhat.

At the end of the day, the Dallas Cowboys will look into any potential move that frees up cap space. But are we overlooking an even likelier solution?

The Cowboys have restructured veteran players’ contracts on a yearly basis, mainly with their offensive linemen. Why not take a similar approach with Cooper’s contract? According to Over The Cap’s projections, Dallas could open up close to $12.5M if they restructured Amari Cooper.

It’s worth reminding fans that a restructure isn’t a pay-cut but a way to turn future salary into prorated bonuses to open up cap space in the present while sacrificing future cap space.

It’s less than the amount you’d get by cutting or trading him, but you get to keep one of the league’s best route runners. Plus, Amari Cooper will be only 28 years old next season and it wouldn’t be crazy to commit long-term to a player that would be 30 years old on the final year on his contract.

If the Dallas Cowboys want to open up cap space through Amari Cooper, wouldn’t it make more sense to do so by keeping him around? To me, it becomes even more clear when you break it down into two questions.

1. Do you expect Cooper to remain a threat at 30 years old?

2. Do you trust CeeDee Lamb to be the #1 wide receiver for the Cowboys?

3. Do you really need to free up $16M as opposed to a projected $12.5M?

The answer to each and every one of those questions likely favors Cooper.

Even though Jerry Jones was frustrated with Cooper’s production after the playoff loss to the San Francisco 49ers, the Cowboys owner surely knows it’s not all on Coop. Kellen Moore and Dak Prescott failed to get the playmaker the ball consistently throughout the season.

The Dallas Cowboys know very well that Cooper is still several levels above CeeDee Lamb and Michael Gallup, so doing their best effort to keep #19 around seems like the logical path to take.

With less long-term confidence on offensive linemen like Tyron Smith and La’el Collins than in previous years, the Cowboys is likely looking for a different approach to dealing with the salary cap. An Amari Cooper contract restructure isn’t far-fetched. Instead, I would even be expecting it.

Featured image via Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports