Dallas Cowboys: Trading Amari Cooper should not be an option
The Dallas Cowboys boasted the number one offense in the NFL, set a franchise record with 530 points, tallied 6,919 yards of total offense, had 22 different players score a touchdown, Dak Prescott set a franchise record with 37 passing touchdowns (38 counting the one in the playoffs), and the Cowboys had one of the best (if not the best) receiving corps in the league.
And it was the Cowboys elite receiving core of CeeDee Lamb, Michael Gallup, and Amari Cooper that stood out more the most and made the offense so lethal. All three receivers are considered WR1 and have the ability to take over a game at any given moment.
In his sophomore season, Lamb hit the 1,000-yard mark with 1,102 receiving yards on 79 receptions, averaged 13.9 yards, and scored six touchdowns. It’s no secret that the organization sees Lamb as the favorite, after all, Lamb wears the legendary No. 88. And because of Lamb’s success and bright future, some around the Dallas Cowboys see Cooper as expendable.
The Dallas Cowboys trading Amari Cooper should not be an option because Cooper is still a legitimate WR1 that only makes the offense potent.
As good as Coop has played for Dallas, there are rumors about Dallas trading Coop to either save money because of his perceived lack of production and/or because of the emergence of Lamb surpassing him as the true WR1. Regardless of either reason, it would be a mistake to trade Coop because of what he offers this offense and what he can do if he’s just targeted a little more often.
Let’s take a look at all of Coop’s strengths and how it impacts the offense and makes opposing defenses nervous. Given his size, Coop is the route best runner in the league, has the hands of glue, he’s fast, and for good measure he’s sure handed (dropped only three passes out of 68 receptions). Wow!
Despite not topping the 1,000-yard mark, Coop still gained 865 receiving yards, averaged 12.7 yards a reception, caught 65.4 percent of his passes, and scored eight touchdowns. Coop was targeted 104 times but missed the 1,000-yard mark by 135 yards only because of stale play calling and possibly ineffective pass blockers (missed two games). Further, Coop has been to four Pro Bowls in his seven-year career.
Coop is only 27 years of age and with a few more Pro Bowl seasons underneath his belt, he’ll be back on a Hall of Fame path. Coop is a unique player with gamechanger capabilities. If you don’t know, then you better ask somebody. Let me remind you all of ole Coop-Coop!.
Coop is a legitimate WR1
Before Dallas traded a first-round pick for Coop, they were sitting under .500 with a 3-4 record and Dak Prescott’s primary receivers were Allen Hurns, Deonte Thompson, Brice Butler, the reliable Cole Beasley, and the raw rookie, Gallup. Although Beasley and Gallup were promising in their roles, they were limited in what they could do because their fellow receivers were reserve options at best. In other words, Dak needed a true WR1 to keep coverages honest.
In Coop’s nine regular season games with Dallas, all he did was catch 53 receptions for 725 yards, average 13.7 yards a reception, and score six touchdowns ( Coop scored a receiving/rushing with the then Oakland Raiders).
But here is where Coop was the difference maker and elite gamechanger Dallas needed: On a Thanksgiving Day game against their archrival Washington Football Team, Coop caught eight passes for 180 yards and two touchdowns. Coop scored on back-to-back 40-yard and 90-yard touchdown receptions that not only sealed the win but put Dallas in first place in the NFC.
Two weeks later against the Philadelphia Eagles, Coop proved once again why Dallas trading a first rounder was well worth it. Coop lit up the Eagles pathetic secondary to the tune of 10 receptions for a 217-yard, three-touchdown win in overtime that crowned Dallas the NFC East champs. My Gawd!
Sidenote: Coop got mad and demanded that Dak change the play.
Coop single-handedly changed Dallas’ fortunes from a team on the precipice of missing the playoffs to one that won the NFC East and advanced to the second round of the playoffs. Plus, Coop had other career-changing games in losses that solidifies him as legitimate WR1. The following season Coop had an impressive 11 catch, 226-yard one score game against the Green Bay Packers.
When Coop came to Dallas, he made Dak a better quarterback and one of the primary reasons why Dak became one of the highest paid signal callers in the league. Yes, Dak revived Coop’s career, too, but you don’t get rid of a talent of Coop’s caliber because you’re trying to save money. If Dallas trades Coop, it needs to be for a player that can duplicate his production and then some.
Dallas’ front office has to be mindful that Gallup may not be back. Without Coop and Gallup, all of the pressure suddenly falls on the skinny shoulders of the still-raw Lamb. But who will be Lamb’s supporting cast if Cedrick Wilson leaves in free agency too? Maybe Malik Turner steps up his game (he’s a sleeper) or Noah Brown becomes more than a third down blocker and pass catcher.
What gets lost in this manner of thinking is how Coop taking on double-teams opened up the doors for Lamb and Gallup to shine by beating single-man coverage and making the offense even more potent. Of course, the same can be said when defenses doubled on Lamb and Gallup. However, it wasn’t as frequent as Coop faced double coverage and still made unbelievable catches with his Houdini-like route running.
Even with the other nonsense about the front office being upset about Coop’s vaccination status, Coop is worth keeping. I mean Jerry Jones has dealt with far worse players than a player refusing to get a shot in the arm. It’s really simple: Head coach Mike McCarthy and Kellen Moore need to get Coop more involved in the offense. Period.
As my late grandmother used to tell me, “You know what you got with this job son, but you never know what you’re getting with a new one!” The Dallas Cowboys know what they have in Coop but they don’t know what they could be getting with another player. Word of wisdom, my friends.