Raiders owner Mark Davis spoke on the Amari Cooper trade this week, and the wide receiver has reacted in kind.
Since acquiring wide receiver Amari Cooper, the Dallas Cowboys are 5-1 with a five-game winning streak going. The former first-round picks numbers have been dramatically better with Dallas in the same number of games this season, leading the league in receiving yards over the last six games, and Cooper’s overall effect on the Cowboys’ offense has been substantial.
At this week’s league meetings, Raiders owner Mark Davis heaped praise on Cooper but ended with a caveat.
“He was a great, great player,” Davis said, via Clarence Hill of the Forth Worth Star-Telegram. “We always had the fastest guy on the field no matter what. It just didn’t work out in our system.”
Davis suggested Cooper was not a fit for the West Coast offense Jon Gruden runs. The coach seemed to disagree during the offseason, with a suggestion Cooper would be the “main vein” of Oakland’s passing game. Quarterback Derek Carr’s shortcomings likely played a role in Cooper’s downturn over a season and half prior to being traded, but a precise route runner like him is actually a great fit for a West Coast offense.
On Thursday Cooper was asked about Davis’ comments, with a reaction that sheds light on initial indications from Gruden that Cooper was not actively being shopped.
Cooper said Gruden did not even know about the trade, and recently fired general manager Reggie McKenzie didn’t want to make the deal. Cooper says Davis overruled both when the Cowboys called offering a 2019 first-round pick.
“They were getting calls about a first for next year and they weren’t going to do it,” Cooper said, per NFL.com. “But when Jerry Jones called about a first for this year he felt he had no choice.”
Assessing moves is always easy in hindsight. The Cowboys fell to 3-5 after Cooper’s first game with the team, and were clearly off the rails headed toward making the pick that went to Oakland a top-10 selection. Davis can easily express some regret about the trade now, but pretending Cooper didn’t fit the Raiders’ offense is a look almost as bad as his two-dollar haircut.
For all his flaws, Al Davis was a pioneering NFL owner who knew football and appreciated talent. His son has shown nothing of the same acumen, and if Cooper is to be believed an attempt to play GM is the latest example.