The Oakland Raiders seem like a team ready to reset their entire roster, and head coach Jon Gruden isn’t doing a good job of calming anyone’s nerves. There have been rumors of various trades, frustration with playing time from the team’s starters and much more drama along with that.
All-in-all, it seems Gruden’s first year back with the Raiders hasn’t gone anyone close to plan. Specifically, the rumors around a potential trade of wide receiver Amari Cooper have picked up steam as of late. Although the coach previously brushed the trade talks aside, that hasn’t cooled the rumblings off in the slightest.
Most recently, as Raiders Beat revealed, former NFL general manager Michael Lombardi joined The Ringer NFL Podcast and spoke about Cooper. Apparently, the Raiders’ reason for a potential trade of the first-round pick has to do with his passion for football.
“I don’t think they think Amari Cooper has got great passion for the sport,” Lombardi said on Tuesday. “I don’t think they think he loves football. That’s what I’m hearing coming out of that building. I think they’re worried about his contract moving forward. It doesn’t sound like they are interested in giving him that kind of deal so they’re going to tear this thing down.”
Amari Cooper’s Head-Scratching Recent Play
The question marks surrounding Cooper’s consistency and playmaking ability began in the 2017 season. Oakland’s former No. 4 draft pick had as many games with single-digit receiving yards (five) as 50-plus yard games (five). He also topped the 100-yard receiving mark just twice all of last season, and if not for the 210-yard game and 115-yard showing, he would have finished below 500 total yards.
To this point in 2018, it’s been hard to watch at times. Aside from two games in which Cooper topped 100 receiving yards, he’s totaled 36 combined yards over four games. The lack of consistency has been enough to drive fans and surely the coaching staff mad.
Barring a drastic improvement in his own game on the field, there’s no reason to believe Cooper will remain with the Raiders long beyond this season. Gruden has shown his lack of interest in players who aren’t completely bought in, so if the receiver’s passion is in question, there’s bound to be trouble brewing.