As expected, the Raiders plan to exercise Amari Cooper‘s fifth-year option, per ESPN’s Josina Anderson (via Twitter). The move will keep Cooper under club control through 2019 and will lock Cooper into a $13.924MM salary — guaranteed for injury only — for the 2019 campaign.
However, as we learned just a couple of days ago, the Raiders have begun discussing a long-term contract with Cooper’s agent, and if the two sides come to terms, Oakland will need to pony up more than the fifth-year option amount on an average annual basis. The high-priced deals signed by this year’s free agent receivers, as well as the mega-extension for Bucs wideout Mike Evans, will only boost Cooper’s leverage in talks.
Coooper, who doesn’t turn 24 until June, has compiled more than 2,900 receiving yards over the past three years. He positioned himself as one of the league’s best receivers right out of the gate as a rookie when he earned a Pro Bowl nod in 2015. He earned Pro Bowl honors once again in 2016, catching 83 passes for 1,153 yards and five scores.
However, Cooper’s numbers were less impressive last year, as he posted just 680 yards and saw a sizable dip in targets (though he did play in only 14 games after suiting up for all 16 contests in his first two seasons in the league). He’ll look to get back on track under new head coach Jon Gruden and will hope that opposing defenses will be paying some attention to new WR2 Jordy Nelson, though it’s debatable as to whether Nelson is a bigger threat than former Raider Michael Crabtree.
In any event, we can expect to see the former Alabama standout and No. 4 overall pick in black-and-silver for the foreseeable future.
Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.