The Oakland Raiders are dismantling their team by trading Amari Cooper, but the Dallas Cowboys should press charges for what happened to them.
Jon Gruden has taken ample heat for his tire-fire of a tenure thus far with the Oakland Raiders, but on Monday, he finally landed his first big win.
After weeks of speculation, the Raiders traded Amari Cooper to the Dallas Cowboys, somehow netting a first-round pick in the process. Dallas, which is 3-4, is hoping that Cooper will jump-start its rancid offense. Oakland is tanking like none other, sitting at 1-5 and now armed with three first-round picks for the 2019 draft.
While Gruden should be admonished because he couldn’t work a talented 24-year-old receiver into his archaic offense, he also deserves praise for taking advantage of Jerry Jones’ desperation. Dallas can’t stand to be in the shadows, a place it squarely was in NFL circles before this deal. The Raiders, clearly cratering at 1-5, didn’t want to pay Cooper at the end of the season, and instead of playing out his fifth-year option, decided to move on and draft capital.
As for the Cowboys, this is one of the more lopsided deals in recent memory. Cooper had two 1,000-yars campaigns to begin his career after being taken fourth-overall out of Alabama in 2015 but has done little since. In 2017, Cooper notched 48 catches and 680 yards with seven touchdowns before watching his production slip further to start 2018, with 22 receptions and 280 yards, accompanied by a single score.
To look at this another way, Cooper has totaled 960 yards and eight touchdowns over his last 20 games, spanning this season and last. Over that same stretch, Devin Funchess, also 24 years old, has amassed 1,214 yards and 11 touchdowns, albeit on 33 more targets.
Nobody is offering the Carolina Panthers a first-round pick for Funchess. Ever.
In totality, the Cowboys gave up the most valuable asset an NFL team has for a player who had a drop rate north of 12 percent (per Kevin Clark). The only other receiver in his company? Dez Bryant.
Dallas is pining to put another star name on the marquee, and from that standpoint, the trade is a success. Jones can trot out his newest headliner and hope for the best, believing a marriage with Dak Prescott and Ezekiel Elliott can bring out the former version of Cooper.
If not, the Cowboys are stuck. They already have a litany of big contracts coming down the road — Dak and Zeke chief among them — and after surrendering a first-round choice, Cooper is certainly getting paid somewhere in the neighborhood of the three-year, $48 million that Sammy Watkins received from the Kansas City Chiefs.
It’s a major gamble, and one that never should have been made considering opportunity cost and recent production.