The Cowboys decision to trade for Amari Cooper on Monday was a shocking one and that’s mostly because of what they gave up to acquire him: A first-round pick.
Although it kind of feels like the Cowboys overpaid for Cooper, Jason Garrett definitely doesn’t see things the same way. During an interview with 105.3 The Fan in Dallas on Tuesday, the Cowboys coach defended his team’s decision to bring in the Raiders wide receiver.
“We talked about it a lot, at all levels of our organization,” Garrett said, via NFL.com. “I do believe we’ve done a good job selecting guys in the first round, and they are cornerstone players on our team. We really believe that Amari can be that kind of a guy. He’s 24 years old. We think he has a bright future. The value for a player like that at his age, that’s really what it costs you. It costs you a first-round pick.”
For Garrett and the Cowboys, the logic was simple: They were in desperate need of a wide receiver and they view Cooper as a proven commodity. Basically, instead of the mystery that comes with a first-round pick who could end up being a bust, they decided to use that pick on Cooper.
“If we were to get him in the draft next spring, you would say, ‘Boy, is there any receiver who is as good as a guy like Amari Cooper?'” Garrett said. “He’s not 28, 29, 30. You’re not paying for a guy for what he’s done for the past six, seven, eight years for another team. We feel like he has it in front of him and he can really benefit our team going forward because of the ability he has and the kind of person he is.”
The one downside of Cooper is that he’s expensive. Although he’s relatively cheap this year — the Cowboys will owe him just over $400,000 — he’s going cost them $13.9 million in base salary in 2019.
Despite that, Garrett is happy with the trade and that’s probably because the Cowboys need all the help they can get at receiver. The team’s passing offense currently ranks 28th overall in the NFL and the Cowboys’ leading receiver, Cole Beasely, has just 350 yards on the season, which ranks 47th in the NFL, behind the likes of O.J. Howard, Eric Ebron and Keelan Cole.
“We just feel he’s a really good player,” Garrett said of Cooper. “He was a top five pick coming out of Alabama a few years ago. By all accounts from everybody we know at Alabama, one of the best players they’ve had there, one of the best people they’ve had there. …. Goes to Oakland, is very productive early on in his career.”
Cooper went for over 1,000 yards in each of his first two seasons with the Raiders and it appears the Cowboys are expecting that kind of production when he gets to Dallas.
“The combination of his physical ability, his production at this level and the kind of guy he is at a position we feel like we need to add some firepower,” Garrett said. “He’s 24 years old, has a bright future, goes about it the right way and it feels like he fits into our culture of our team; the kind of guys we want to have, the cornerstone players we build here over the last few years.”
On Cooper’s end, he definitely seems excited about playing for the Cowboys.
“It feels great,” Cooper said Wednesday after his first practice in Dallas, via NFL.com. “It feels like a fresh start, just like a freshman year in college or something like that. … I mean the first thing you think about when you hear the Cowboys is that star, ‘America’s Team,’ and all of that. It’s a great franchise.”
Unfortunately for Cooper, he’s going to have to wait another week before making his Cowboys debut. After a bye in Week 8, Cooper and the Cowboys will be back on the field Nov. 5 when they host the Titans on Monday Night Football.
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