FRISCO, Texas – The fun thing about contract speculation is that virtually anything can set it off.
In the case of Amari Cooper, his contract re-entered the NFL news cycle last week – not because of Cooper himself, but news about another player. Word surfaced last week that the New Orleans Saints hope to extend Michael Thomas before the start of training camp, and they're willing to make him the highest-paid receiver in football.
It makes sense. Thomas' 321 catches in his first three seasons is the highest total in NFL history, and his 3,787 career yards and 23 total touchdowns don't hurt, either. If Thomas surpasses Odell Beckham Jr., it would put him north of $18 million per year – and reports indicate he might want as much as $22 million per year.
That in turn prompts speculation about what Cooper might want as he eyes an extension of his own. Fortunately for everyone, Cooper went on ESPN's "First Take" on Monday and addressed the question himself: do you want to be the NFL's best paid receiver?
"Not now," he said. "Definitely looking forward to earning that respect and definitely looking forward to coming into this year and putting up those numbers for my team and really showing what I can do in a full season as a Dallas Cowboy. I know I have the skillset to be one of the highest paid receivers, I'm just all about going out there and proving it."
Cooper spent his Monday promoting Gatorade's "Beat The Heat" program, which is aimed at educating athletes about the importance of hydrating during the summer. As part of that, "First Take" wasn't his only appearance, as he also called in to "The Dan Patrick Show" – where Patrick naturally asked him about his contract, as well as Thomas' negotiations.
"I'm not watching Michael Thomas' pockets," Cooper said. "I think everything is going to fall into place when it needs to."
Cooper has reiterated this stance, more or less, every time he's been asked about his contract throughout the offseason. Way back in April, he said he felt comfortable that the Cowboys wanted to re-sign him, and he was confident it would work itself out.
Speaking to Jon Machota of The Dallas Morning News on Monday afternoon, he was consistent in that regard. The Cowboys report to training camp in a little more than a month, and Cooper said his focus his on being prepared for the coming season – regardless of where his contract stands when it begins.
"It really doesn't matter to me. I'm not even really thinking about that," he said. "I'm just more focused on how I play and how I approach the game, the type of work that I put in. I really want to play well."
He added: "I think everything starts with that. If you play good football, you're going to be around for a long time. And I do want to be a Dallas Cowboy for a long time. I love the organization; I love everything we have going on here."