The Cowboys and Raiders have reached an agreement on Amari Cooper, with ESPN.com’s Josina Anderson reporting (via Twitter) the fourth-year wide receiver will head to Dallas. Jason La Canfora of CBS Sports tweets this transaction is indeed happening.
The compensation is big. Dallas will send a first-round pick to Oakland for Cooper, Adam Schefter of ESPN.com reports (on Twitter). It’s a 2019 pick, per SI.com’s Albert Breer (on Twitter). The Oakland/Las Vegas rebuild is in high gear, with the franchise now holding three first-rounders in next year’s draft.
Oakland received an offer for a pick expected to be in the high second-round range, per La Canfora (on Twitter), and turned it down, to the surprise of many around the league. But Gruden has recouped a first-round pick for a wideout whose value doesn’t appear to be what it once was.
While this marks another Reggie McKenzie first-rounder dealt, Breer tweets the Raiders GM handled the trade calls for Cooper and was holding teams to a first-round pick for the 24-year-old receiver’s services. The now-Jon Gruden-led Raiders have traded both of McKenzie’s top first-round acquisitions — Cooper and Khalil Mack — in a two-months span.
Cooper was at Raiders practice earlier on Monday, per ESPN.com’s Paul Gutierrez (on Twitter), but has been the subject of trade rumors for several days now. The Cowboys are swooping in, doing so after their record dipped below .500 after a Week 7 loss to the Redskins.
While Cooper has not shown the consistency he displayed during his first two seasons — both Pro Bowl campaigns — the Raiders wanted a first-round pick for him and will receive it. The Colts and Redskins were also rumored Cooper suitors, but he’ll head to a team with a dire need at wide receiver. Cooper is signed through the 2019 season, with the Raiders having picked up the 2015 No. 5 overall pick’s $13.924MM fifth-year option.
He has one catch in Oakland’s past two games and has finished four of the Raiders’ six 2018 contests with two or fewer receptions. After he posted a career-best 1,153 receiving yards in 2016, the Alabama product’s 2017 total (680 yards on 48 receptions in 14 games) was a considerable disappointment.
But Cooper will step in and be a key player for a Cowboys team that cut Dez Bryant this offseason but did not, until Monday, make a big move to replace him. Third-round pick Michael Gallup and UFA addition Allen Hurns represented Jerry Jones‘ Bryant-replacement efforts. Cooper will join a receiving corps currently fronted by slot man Cole Beasley. Only Beasley and tight end Geoff Swaim have more than 200 receiving yards for Dallas. Hurns has only caught 13 passes for 158 yards, and Terrance Williams is on IR.
Cooper’s season will now have back-to-back bye weeks, and he’ll have two weeks before debuting as a Cowboy. Dallas faces Tennessee in Week 9.
While the Cowboys have shown intermittent promise this season and play in an NFC East that’s seen the favored Eagles stumble to start their title defense, a 3-4 team trading a first-round pick represents massive risk. The pick Dallas is sending to Oakland could be in the top half of next year’s first round. With the Raiders’ own first-rounder in contention for No. 1 overall in 2019, they will have prime real estate to bring in potential cornerstones for their Vegas start.
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