Monday, September 26, 2022

Cowboys owners ring out after big night at Browns Amari Cooper

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The Cleveland Browns have led the NFL in the headlines for the past six months with a parade of controversial acquisitions, blockbuster trades and, most recently, an unlikely game collapse.

Amid all the excitement, guesswork and fiery hot takes, a few developments had to get lost in the fanfare. One such development was the Browns’ cheap acquisition of former Dallas Cowboys wide receiver Amari Cooper, a reminder for the entire league Thursday night exactly the kind of player he’s been since he burst onto the NFL scene eight years ago.

Cooper exploded in the Browns’ win over the Pittsburgh Steelers, catching seven for 101 yards and a touchdown. The performance portended even better things when placeholder quarterback Jacoby Brissett is replaced by three-time Pro Bowler Deshaun Watson in Week 13 after his 11-game suspension.

The receiver’s breakthrough and his overall productivity in the first three weeks of the season have put Cowboys owner Jerry Jones in something of a hot seat as he tries to explain why Dallas let the pass catcher get away for such a low price.

What makes Cooper’s performance even more exciting for Browns fans is how cheap it was for Cleveland to acquire his services. The team gave up only a fifth-round draft pick and an option for the Cowboys to trade sixth-round picks in exchange for the wideout.

To be fair to Jones, Cooper’s contract is set at $60 million over the next three years, although the Browns restructured that deal to spread out the cap and give themselves plenty of maneuverability this offseason, some of which they gained shortly thereafter Watson secured .

Michael Gelkin of the Dallas Morning News on Friday, September 23, Jones questioned his decision to part ways with Cooper for so little in return. The Cowboys’ owner dodged the part of the question about his team being fleeced for their trade pay and instead leaned on the idea of ​​the financial realities in a salary cap sport.

“The problem with Amari Cooper was how much we paid him and what we could do with that money.” said Jones to Gelkin. “Amari Cooper is a really good player – a top player.”

“You can not have everything.”

Jones’ comments Friday represent a significant backtracking of things he said about Cooper in the offseason after the receiver moved to Cleveland.

Jones told Clarence Hill of the Fort Worth Star Telegram on May 26 that the deal would not hurt the Cowboys as he saw wideout CeeDee Lamb as a superior option for Cooper.

The Cowboys owner doubled down on those comments exactly two months later during a July 26 news conference.

“If you come in there [financial] Period, I can tell you, your standards are rising. Your bar is higher. Your behavior is higher. Your attention to the team is higher, not just your own performance but everything when you have that kind of responsibility, when you have that much of the financial pie,” Jones said of Cooper. “What I’m trying to say is that these decisions were made more about availability than capability. They were created the way they came about being temporarily unavailable.”

Cooper is a four-time Pro Bowler who received two of those awards as a member of the Cowboys in 2018 and 2019.

The wideout played nine games with Dallas after being traded there by the Las Vegas Raiders in 2018. He also played in six games for the Raiders that year. Over the next three seasons, Cooper appeared in 47 of Dallas’ 48 regular-season games and started 45 of those contests, according to Pro Football Reference.

Cooper has 19 catches for 219 yards and two touchdowns in his first three games this year in Cleveland. Meanwhile, Lamb has had nine catches for 104 yards and zero touchdowns on the Cowboys’ first two regular-season outings.

Cooper is a four-time Pro Bowler who received two of those awards as a member of the Cowboys in 2018 and 2019.

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