A trade shocked the NFL world on Monday when the Dallas Cowboys and Oakland Raiders completed a deal.
The Dallas Cowboys lost on Sunday and enter their bye week at 3-4. Offensively, the team has been a roller coaster all season. One thing was clear, the receivers needed an upgrade. Owner Jerry Jones decided to roll the dice and send the Oakland Raiders a first-round pick for Amari Cooper.
This decision has been met with confusion across Twitter since it has been announced. Most think Dallas made a mistake and got robbed. Let’s look at the positive side for the Cowboys and see why this was a smart move.
To understand the context of this trade, it takes more than just looking at Amari Cooper for a first-round pick. The whole issue starts with Dak Prescott. The third-year quarterback has shown flashes throughout his first two and a half years.
However Dallas still is not sure if the former mid-round pick is their future at the quarterback position. That is a problem given that next season is Prescott’s last under contract.
Basically Dallas’ front office needs to decide if Prescott deserves a long-term extension by the end of next season.
With the receiving corps that Dallas has in place, it was doing Prescott no favors. Michael Gallup and Cole Beasley are solid players, but neither move the needle. Jones already discussed the team’s lack of a true No. 1 receiver and clearly sees that the team has a need there.
Now that Amari Cooper is in Dallas, that may solve the No. 1 receiver issue. The former fourth overall pick already has two 1,000-yard seasons under his belt and a Pro Bowl berth to boot.
Clearly he has been inconsistent, but the thought process that he is not a talent at only 24 years old is bonkers.
Some may point to a first-round pick as their issue with the trade. First-round picks are valuable in the right hands. Dallas’ track record is strong with their first-round picks as of late. However, first-round receivers have been a mixed bag.
For every Odell Beckham, there are two or three Corey Colemans.
Even if Dallas was able to nail their first-round pick they gave up for Cooper; how likely is it that that rookie receiver outperforms even a mediocre Cooper season? The best rookie receiver performance in the last 10 years is Beckham, followed by Mike Evans.
Those are special talent and the odds are stacked against any receiver coming into Dallas to perform to that measure. Take a look at the current crop of rookie wide outs.
Calvin Ridley is having the best season and he is in a high-powered offense with a former MVP quarterback and possibly the most dangerous receiver on the other side of the field. Dallas does not have that type of offense to surround a rookie receiver.
There is a strong receiver class coming in 2019, but there is no Beckham or Evans in this group. Dallas likely would have targeted a receiver with that first-round pick. They decided a 24-year-old former Pro Bowl player was a more effective use of resources.
Still armed with second- and third-round picks, there is a chance Dallas can find another complimentary weapon for Prescott and the offense, especially at the tight end position. This is a gamble, of course, but not as negative as the national reaction will make it.
At the end of the day, this trade is not about Cooper or the first-round pick, it is about Prescott. If questions remain after the 2019 season, the Cowboys will need to look at the 2020 quarterback class to replace him.
This move gives Jones and Cowboys’ management a clearer picture and limits excuses going forward. The underwhelming offense can no longer be blamed on a lack of weapons. It will come down to coaching and Prescott.
Four or five more mediocre performances will likely change the coaching staff. By 2019 the picture will be clear and the fate of the Cowboys quarterback position will be decided. That is what this trade is all about.