Amari Cooper

Raiders Exercise Amari Cooper’s Fifth-Year Option

No surprise here. The Raiders have exercised their fifth-year option on wide receiver Amari Cooper, per a club announcement.

As a wide receiver taken in the top 10, Cooper’s salary for 2019 will be $13.924MM. That’s not exactly cheap, but it’s well worth it for one of the best young wide receivers in the game.

The Raiders have already begun discussing a long-term deal with Cooper’s agent. There’s mutual interest in a long-term deal, but Cooper’s reps will push for a deal that will position him as one of the highest-paid players at his position.

We’ve been in contact with his agent,” McKenzie said. “I don’t want to put anything out there, don’t want to put the cart before the horse so to speak, but we like Amari.

Cooper, 24 in June, was inconsistent last year and had eight games with less than 40 yards receiving. However, he was excellent in the previous two years as he averaged 78 catches for 1,112 yards and six touchdowns.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Raiders To Exercise Amari Cooper’s Option

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.

Raiders, Amari Cooper Begin Talks

The Raiders have until May 3 to exercise Amari Cooper‘s fifth-year option, a decision that is nothing short of a no-brainer. Ideally, however, the Raiders would like to lock up the star wide receiver for the long haul. Discussions on a new contract appear to be underway. 

We’ve been in contact with his agent,” McKenzie said (via PFT). “I don’t want to put anything out there, don’t want to put the cart before the horse so to speak, but we like Amari.

The fifth-year option for Cooper would cost the Raiders $13.924MM in 2019, but a new multi-year deal would have to provide Cooper with more than that 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 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 when he caught 83 passes for 1,153 yards and five scores.

Cooper’s numbers were less impressive last year, but he’ll look to get back on track under new head coach Jon Gruden. Opposing defenses will be paying some attention to new WR2 Jordy Nelson, though it’s debatable as to whether he is a bigger threat to teams than former teammate Michael Crabtree.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

AFC Notes: Browns, Jackson, Broncos WR’s

The Browns are in serious danger of joining the 2008 Lions as the only teams to go 0-16 in a single season. Cleveland will take on the Bears and Steelers before the dust is settled, but will be moving forward with a new head football man in John Dorsey.

Mary Kay Cabot of Cleveland.com answers a variety of questions in a video addressing many different questions swirling around the franchise. One question she touches on is how quickly of an impact Dorsey will have on the field? While Cabot did say that it will take some time to turn around the franchise, one thing Dorsey will emphasize is finding that franchise quarterback that the team has been craving for a long time. Cabot states that just like with the 49ers and Jimmy Garoppolo, if the Browns can find their guy this offseason, there could be a dramatic shift in the long-term outlook of the organization.

The Browns will likely hold the first overall pick so they could be faced with a choice regarding Sam Darnold or Josh Rosen should both draft eligible QB’s turn pro this offseason.

Here are more stories coming from the AFC:

  • While the Browns do have a new decision maker in Dorsey, head coach Hue Jackson remains a bit in-flux. While the team’s owner has expressed his desire to keep the veteran coach, there could be an added twist in this story because of the division rival Bengals, states Terry Pluto of Cleveland.com. Pluto opines that should Jackson replace the embattled Marvin Lewis, that would allow Dorsey to put his own coach in place, leaving his relationship with owner Jimmy Haslam in-tact. Bengals owner Mike Brown seems to like guys he’s worked with in the past, so Jackson seems like a reasonable possibility, even given his 1-29 record in Cleveland.
  • The Broncos are very much playing out the string of this season with a number of different QB’s given injuries and poor play. However, the wide receiver position has taken a hit over the past week, according to Mike Klis of 9news.com. Klis notes that Denver could only have four wideouts active against the Redskins in Week 16. Demaryius Thomas, Bennie Fowler, Jordan Taylor and Isaiah McKenzie are the only healthy receivers available and could lead the team to serious depth problems should one of them go down this weekend. Emmanuel Sanders and Cody Latimer are both listed as questionable and really have no reason to be pushed given that the Broncos are not in the playoff race. Expect the team to rely on the running game in order to keep their receiving corps healthy on Sunday.
  • Raiders wide receiver Amari Cooper has not been 100% since he suffered a concussion and an ankle injury vs. the Broncos a few weeks ago. The third-year wideout has been inconsistent while on the field this season, but said after practice on Friday that he “felt all right” and is “still working through” the injuries, according to Michael Gehlken of the Las Vegas Review Journal (Twitter link). He remains questionable to play for Monday night’s game against the Eagles. Gehlken also passed along that four Raiders missed practice today, including: CB David Amerson (foot), C Rodney Hudson (ankle/illness), DL Treyvon Hester (ankle) and TE Clive Walford (concussion/neck) (Twitter link).

Amari Cooper Officially Ruled Out For Week 13

It was expected considering that the Raiders’ wide receiver had not practiced all week, but the team officially ruled Amari Cooper out for Week 13 with a concussion and ankle injury, reports Scott Bair of NBC Sports.

Amari Cooper (Vertical)

The 23-year-old wideout suffered his concussion on a collision with Broncos safety Darian Stewart last Sunday, but we learned a few days ago that Cooper was also dealing with an injury to his ankle, which clearly lowered the probability he would play this weekend.

With Cooper out and Michael Crabtree suspended for the team’s upcoming matchup vs. the Giants, the Raiders will have to rely on the group of Jared Cook, Seth Roberts, Cordarrelle Patterson and Johnny Holton to make plays through the air.

Cooper was having quite the up-and-down season before the injury, posting great games like his 11 catch, 210 yards performance vs. the Chiefs in October, but also consistently catching fewer than five passes during contests as well.

The Raiders still remain squarely in the hunt for the AFC Wild Card, and now also find themselves just a game back of Kansas City in the AFC West with five weeks left to play.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Amari Cooper Also Dealing With Sprained Ankle

On the same Darian Stewart hit that concussed Amari Cooper, the Raiders wide receiver suffered a sprained ankle, Adam Schefter of ESPN.com reports (on Twitter).

Cooper will now have to surmount concussion protocol and recover sufficiently from this ankle malady in order to play against the Giants on Sunday.

The Raiders beat the Broncos despite missing both of their wide receivers for much of the contest, and Oakland could face the prospect of being without Cooper and Michael Crabtree again. Crabtree could face a suspension, although nothing has been announced yet, for his actions in the fight with Aqib Talib.

Beyond Cooper and Crabtree, the Silver and Black have Cordarrelle Patterson, Seth Roberts and Johnny Holton on their roster. The Raiders did not have to deal with any in-case-of-emergency receiver situations in their 12-4 2016 season; both Cooper and Crabtree started all 16 games. Cooper has never missed a game in his three-season NFL career.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

AFC Notes: Raiders, Jags, Bengals

There was a team-wide brawl that took place between the Raiders and Broncos this afternoon, started by Raiders wide receiver Michael Crabtree and Broncos cornerback Aqib Talib. The two have a had a go of it in the past, when both engaged each other during a game last season. However, this fight was capped off by Crabtree throwing and partly landing a punch at the head of Talib. Both players were immediately ejected from the game, which forced the veteran wideout to watch the rest of the contest from a suite, according to Paul Gutierrez of ESPN.com.

  • The Raiders receiving corps took a further hit in the AFC West battle as they lost Amari Cooper for the game with a concussion, Gutierrez also passes along. The 23-year-old wideout suffered the injury when he was hit in the head by Broncos safety Darian Stewart on a collision over the middle of the field. There appeared to be no malicious intent behind the play, even though there was a personal foul penalty given. Nevertheless, Oakland may be without both their top receivers for next week’s game because of what transpired today versus Denver. The Raiders would need extra contributions from the likes of Seth Roberts, Johnny Holton and Cordarrelle Patterson should Crabtree get suspended and Cooper not pass concussion protocol.
  • The Jaguars were hit with a concussion of their own as starting linebacker Telvin Smith did not return after suffering the injury, reports Michael DiRocco of ESPN.com. Smith has been one of many key contributors in what has turned into perhaps the best defense in football. This situation will certainly be worth monitoring throughout the upcoming practice week.
  • Bengals running back Joe Mixon had the best game of his professional career in the team’s blowout of the Browns. The second round pick tallied over 160 yards from scrimmage, while averaging exactly five yards per carry. Mixon had already been getting a lot of work in recent weeks, but finally broke through with a performance that he and the team were waiting for. “It feels great,” said Mixon, “The offensive line was great and the receivers did a great job blocking on the perimeters and we just went out and finished.” (Quote courtesy of Geoff Hobson of Bengals.com)Look for Mixon to continue to be a big part of the Cincinnati offense in the last five games of the season.
  • In other Bengals news, backup quarterback A.J. McCarron was seen mingling with Browns head coach Hue Jackson and owner Jimmy Haslam before Sunday’s game. This is notable considering Cleveland tried to trade for the signal caller right before the deadline, but it’s not something that McCarron really focused on when discussing the interaction after the contest. “No point talking about the trade. It didn’t happen and it’s not going to happen now,” McCarron said. “I saw Mr. Haslam just to say hey to him. I’ve known Mr. Haslam through the whole draft process. I took a visit there. He’s a good Tennessee guy and you know the love between Tennessee and Alabama.” (Quote courtesy of Hobson).

Extra Points: Pats, Julio, Fluker, Cooper

The DeflateGate scandal reentered the news Thursday when Mark Baltz, the NFL’s head linesman from 1989-2013, voiced his suspicion regarding recently reinstated Patriots employee Jim McNally. In response, Jim Daopoulos – the league’s ex-supervisor of officials and one of Baltz’s former bosses – defended McNally.

“In all my years working with locker-room attendants, Jim McNally, without a doubt, is probably one of the most professional of all the locker-room attendants in the National Football League,” Daopoulos said, according to CSNNE.com. “And that can be attested by all the officials working in the National Football League.”

“I really don’t know what Mark’s agenda is right here,” Daopoulos added.

Other news from around the league:

  • Although Falcons star receiver Julio Jones has been limited this week with a hamstring injury, head coach Dan Quinn says there’s “zero” chance he’ll miss their game Sunday, per The Associated Press. Jones lit up the Eagles for nine catches, 141 yards and two touchdowns in Monday’s win. He’ll look to do something similar against the Giants this week.
  • Chargers guard D.J. Fluker was carted off the field with an ankle injury during the team’s Week 1 win over Detroit, and there was concern that he’d miss anywhere from four to six weeks. Instead, Fluker will only miss a couple weeks, according to Michael Gehlken of the San Diego Union-Tribune. In the meantime, Chris Hairston will take his spot as the starting right guard.
  • Raiders receiver Amari Cooper harbors no ill will toward Bengals cornerback Adam Jones, who avoided a suspension after ripping Cooper’s helmet off his head and slamming his head against the ground in Cincy’s win last week. “I didn’t want him to get suspended,” Cooper said, per Scott Bair of CSNBayArea.com. “He was just playing football and playing physical like you’re supposed to. I’m past all that now. I’m trying to focus on the Ravens.” (Twitter links: 1; 2).
  • Seahawks rookie defensive end Frank Clark is a situation player – for now, anyway – and using Richard Sherman in the slot enables the team to get its three best cornerbacks on the field, D-coordinator Kris Richard said (Twitter link via The Seattle Times’ Bob Condotta).
  • The Colts’ decision to waive/injured running back Vick Ballard prior to Week 1 remains a curious one, writes Stephen Holder of the Indianapolis Star. They did it to open up a spot for inside linebacker Josh McNary, but they have a logjam of ILBs. On the other hand, they’re lacking at running back behind starter Frank Gore.

Raiders Sign Amari Cooper

MAY 11: Cooper’s deal with the Raiders is for four years. It includes $22.7MM in guaranteed money and a $14.8MM signing bonus, per Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (Twitter link)

MAY 7: The Raiders announced that they have signed first-round pick Amari Cooper, according to Vic Tafur of the San Francisco Chronicle (on Twitter). Oakland selected Cooper, believed by many to be the best wide receiver in this year’s class, with the No. 4 overall pick.

As Daniel Brown of the Mercury News notes, both GM Reggie McKenzie and coach Jack Del Rio described the Alabama star as “polished” numerous times on draft day. Cooper doesn’t just come with high upside, he comes with the ability to make a major impact right out of the gate in Oakland. His skills have impressed the best of the best, including Hall of Famer Fred Biletnikoff.

If you know nothing about football, you might not see that he’s mature beyond his years,” Biletnikoff, 72, told Brown. “But he’s a step ahead when it comes to the things required to be a receiver. The way he runs his routes, catches balls, gets open. He can do it against man-to-man coverage or press or zone. This guy is not one-dimensional. “He can line up inside, outside, right or left and do a good job wherever he is. Jack and Reggie and the staff were dead on when they talked about him.”

In 2014, Cooper hauled in 124 catches for 1,727 yards and 16 TDs across 14 games.

Jets Rumors: Wilkerson, Washington, Draft

The draft isn’t in New York anymore, but that won’t stop some ambitious Jets fans from booing their team’s first round pick, as Stu Woo of The Wall Street Journal writes. “The booing is more than just about this year’s draft,” one fan said. “It’ll never stop unless there’s a Super Bowl.” The latest on the Jets..

  • The Jets are high on Leonard Williams, Dante Fowler Jr., and Amari Cooper. They’ll likely be gone by No. 6, however, and Rich Cimini of ESPN.com hears from sources that there are now four projected targets for the Jets at No. 6: wide receiver Kevin White, outside linebacker Bud Dupree, offensive lineman Brandon Scherff, and running back Todd Gurley (though he adds that Gurley is a longshot).
  • Jets defensive end Muhammad Wilkerson has come up in discussion with at least one other team picking in the top five, but it’s still doubtful that he’ll be traded at this point, Manish Mehta of the Daily News tweets.
  • A Jets source told Josina Anderson of ESPN.com (on Twitter) that he was hearing buzz of Washington possibly moving down. The Jets are very interested in how that plays out since it will impact them at No. 6.
  • The source who spoke with Anderson (link) also didn’t didn’t rule out the possibility of moving out of No. 6 and he said that additional positions may be considered if they do. Many have said that the Jets could drop back in the draft though if they stay put, a pass rusher seems like a good possibility.