What a difference a year will make when talking about narratives. It was just a year ago when people were praising the Oakland Raiders for scoring a first-round pick for Amari Cooper and hailing the Dallas Cowboys as “losers.” Well, as fate would have it, Cooper has balled out in Dallas and has been one of the big reasons Dak Prescott has improved. People have flipped and are now insinuating the Raiders were fleeced in the trade.
Obviously, hindsight is 20-20, but to say something like “the Raiders just gave up Amari Cooper” is a massive overstatement. It’s possible for two teams to win a trade. Cooper’s time in Oakland had run its course and the Raiders should be commended for getting top value for a player who seemed like he needed a change of scenery. Plus, the team seems happy with the player they replaced him with.
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Johnathan Abram Is a Star in the Making
With the first-round pick Oakland received from Dallas, they selected safety Johnathan Abram. There probably wasn’t a player in the draft who had a more opposite personality to Amari Cooper than Abram. The rookie is loud and charismatic. Cooper is quiet and barely talks. That doesn’t necessarily translate to success on the field, but it’s clear that since Week 1, the Raiders desperately need Abram back. His season was ended during the first game of the season against the Denver Broncos and the team has been terrible on defense.
Oakland could really use Abram’s help as he was impressive in his game. Due to the fact that the sample size from Abram is very small, there’s no way to know who has won the trade yet. People seem to forget that Cooper was a pro bowler in his first two years with the Raiders and completely disappeared in his final seasons with the team. It’s entirely possible that will happen once he gets paid in Dallas.
Even if he doesn’t ever make a pro bowl, Abram is going to be a star for the Raiders. Despite being injured, he’s been all over the media defending Derek Carr and trolling Raider haters. He’s exactly what fans want from a player and seeing him develop will be something that’s watched closely.
There Are No Losers From the Trade
If you were to go back to 2018 and knew how things would turn out for the Raiders and Cowboys, it’s doubtful that either team would welch on the trade. Cooper has become a major part of the Dallas offense and while Abram is injured, Oakland is still really high on his potential. It is true that the Raiders are struggling pretty significantly at wide receiver, but there’s almost no way Cooper would’ve re-signed with the team if he had another mediocre season. He pretty much said as much to Dallas Morning News back in the offseason:
Yeah. Whatever the circumstances may be, there are certain reasons why one place might not work for a guy and another place will. I think the change of scenery was really necessary. I really, honestly, don’t think if I would’ve stayed with the Raiders last season that I would’ve been able to flourish and reach some heights that I was able to reach as a Cowboy. It was definitely necessary.
It happens all the time. Not every player is a perfect fit for every team. As it turns out, Cooper is a perfect fit for the Cowboys and it seems like Abram is a perfect fit for the Raiders. If the wide receiver continues to put up big numbers, the trade will be questioned, but things still need time to play out before a winner or loser is decided.