Cowboys make big trade for wide receiver Amari Cooper


Reports of an impending trade for Cooper broke as the Cowboys were returning from Washington following a scheduled trip to the National Museum of African American History and Culture.

The Cowboys have made a bold midseason move to bolster their wide receiving corps, agreeing to trade a 2019 first-round pick to the Oakland Raiders for fourth-year wideout Amari Cooper.

The Cowboys have gone with a committee-like approach at receiver this season since parting ways with former No. 1 option Dez Bryant in April.

The Cowboys' trio of offseason additions - Allen Hurns, Deonte Thompson and Tavon Austin - have combined for 32 catches, 391 yards and 3 touchdowns as the receiver snaps have been split relatively evenly these first seven games. Cooper has just 22 catches for 280 yards and one touchdown this season. But it's a risk worth taking.

Wow. Is Gruden's plan in Oakland finally beginning to make sense?

Dallas' wide receivers have been inconsistent and, overall, far below-average. He was the team's all-time leader in touchdown receptions.

But Cooper, 24, is still young and the Cowboys are hoping he can regain the form that made him a can't-missing receiver prospect after an All-American career with Nick Saban. Dallas is now 29th in yards per game. The next two leading receivers are running back Ezekiel Elliott (25 catches) and tight end Geoff Swaim (19 catches). The passing-game weakness is the clear culprit in the Cowboys' inability to rise to the top of a weak division, and Cooper at least gives them a better chance at legitimate improvement.

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Amari Cooper #89 of the Oakland Raiders runs after a catch against the Kansas City Chiefs during their National Football League game at Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum on October 19, 2017 in Oakland, California. Dallas was not the only NFC East contender thinking along these lines. After posting back-to-back 1,000 yard seasons to begin his tenure in Oakland, Cooper was only able to muster 680 yards and seven scores a year ago in 14 contests.

Cooper is a two-time pro-bowler. Dallas, though, has a slot ace in Cole Beasley; 88.6 percent of his routes run this season have come from that position.

This is a very headscratching decision from the Dallas Cowboys.

Gruden has not blinked through a season in which a 1-5 record has only amplified the criticism he has received for trading away star edge-rusher Khalil Mack before the season.

Whether McKenzie is on board with Gruden's overhaul is unknown - the GM on Monday did claim that he does not feel as though he's being pushed out of the way.

For these Raiders, though, the Cooper trade is a heist based on what most assumed the team would take in exchange for the receiver.

And hence Gruden increasing his draft choice total to a more reasonable for rebuilding purposes to nine, including three firsts and a second. A successful one, at that.