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Amari Cooper Holds Out from Browns Minicamp, Seeking New Contract

Cleveland Browns star wide receiver Amari Cooper is holding out from mandatory minicamp while seeking a new contract.

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Browns Steelers WR Amari Cooper
Cleveland Browns wide receiver Amari Cooper (2) catches a pass during an NFL football game, Sunday, Jan. 8, 2023, in Pittsburgh, PA. (AP Photo/Matt Durisko)

Cleveland Browns wide receiver Amari Cooper has been unexcused in his absence from his team’s mandatory minicamp this week, as the star wideout is seeking a new contract.

Browns head coach Kevin Stefanski confirmed on Wednesday that Cooper not being at the team’s Berea, Ohio training facility was not excused by the team, but would not confirm the reason that Cooper decided not to show up. Stefanski said there have been conversations between the team and Cooper regarding his contract. If Cooper skips all three days of minicamp, he could be fined up to $100,000.

Cooper, 29, is entering the final season of a five-year, $100 million contract that the signed with the Dallas Cowboys in 2020 before his trade to the Browns in 2022. At the time, the deal made him the second-highest paid receivers in the league in terms of annual average value on the contract.

Now, the $20 million he will earn from the Browns this season ranks tied for 20th around the NFL, as wide receiver contracts have gone through two rounds of explosive growth in the interim.

Justin Jefferson just re-set the market again with a four-year, $140 million deal from the Minnesota Vikings, and several top receivers, including Ja’Marr Chase, CeeDee Lamb, Tyreek Hill and Tee Higgins are looking to cash in after the groundbreaking contract extended the top of the wide receiver market.

RELATED: How Will Monster Justin Jefferson Extension Impact Steelers WR Pursuit?

Amari Cooper has been a consistent producer throughout his career, gaining over 1,000 yards in eight of his 10 NFL season, and he’s doing the opposite of slowing down as he ages. He set a career high with 1,250 yards for the Browns in 2023, despite extremely inconsistent quarterback play that included rookie fifth-round pick Dorian Thompson-Robinson, practice squad passer P.J. Walker, 38-year-old Joe Flacco and journeyman backup Jeff Driskel.

The Browns currently have $13 million in additional salary cap space for the 2024 season, according to Over the Cap, but the club has already committed $340 million for the 2025 season, the second-most of any NFL team, and is projected to be $66 million over the salary cap next season by Spotrac.