The trade winds are blowing hard out of Oakland, with the latest deal shipping out a popular, talented, but under-performing wide receiver:
Breaking: A source tells me that WR Amari Cooper will be traded to the Dallas #Cowboys.
— ig: josinaanderson (@JosinaAnderson) October 22, 2018
ESPN’s Josina Anderson reports the Raiders and Cowboys have hooked up on a trade that sends Amari Cooper from Oakland to Dallas. It’s a sensible deal from the Cowboys’ perspective, seeing that their passing offense has struggled to find success without a premier pass-catcher on the outside – and Cooper, a first-round pick in 2015 (yep, that means he’s part of the same draft class as Kevin White), opened his career with back-to-back 1,000-yard Pro Bowl seasons. Of course, in the last two seasons, Cooper’s production has dropped off: he gained just 680 yards last year and is on pace for a 747-yard receiving season in 2018.
Considering Cooper’s struggles, you’d think the return couldn’t possibly be substant … oh:
Cowboys traded a first-round pick to Raiders for WR Amari Cooper, per source.
— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) October 22, 2018
Anderson’s ESPN teammate Adam Schefter chimed in with the compensation, and it turns out it’s a pretty penny. The Cowboys have traded a first-round pick for Cooper, meaning the Raiders now have three first-round picks in the next NFL Draft (if the pick Dallas sends over indeed turns out to be a 2019 selection). Armed with its own pick, the Cowboys’ pick from the Cooper trade, and the Bears’ selection from the Khalil Mack deal, the Raiders could have three picks in the top-20. Does this make Jon Gruden some sort of evil genius? Nah. Probably not.
That said, the move is fairly sensible for both teams. Dallas provides a worthwhile target for quarterback Dak Prescott, while Oakland sets up its future by acquiring an additional first-round pick.
I suppose the only “losers” in this deal are Raiders fans in Oakland, who will have to suffer through the team bottoming out in their final years in town, only to watch the team move to Las Vegas just when the team’s young talent is getting good enough to compete. This is a move that’s eerily reminiscent of the waning years of the Seattle SuperSonics before they skipped town and became the Oklahoma City Thunder. When viewing it through that specific lens, this doesn’t sit right with me, so I can’t imagine it going over too well with that particular segment of fans.