It’s been well over a year since the Raiders traded Amari Cooper to the Dallas Cowboys and it’s safe to say fans don’t miss him. Despite his mild-mannered demeanor, the wide receiver draws the ire from Raider fans. It’s hard to blame considering he’s taken jabs at the team since he was traded.
This offseason, the Cowboys gave Cooper a $100 million contract and not everybody thought he deserved that much money. Former NFL head coach Rex Ryan may have just become the biggest detractor of the wide receiver yet.
“I wouldn’t have paid this guy,” Ryan said of Amari Cooper on ESPN’s Get Up. “To me, this is the biggest disappearing act in the National Football League. He doesn’t show up on the road, he doesn’t show up against, when the competition’s good, when he’s against the top corners, that guy disappears. And to me, he reminds me, it’s only one time that I can remember in the, in recent memory, on elite receivers and disappearing acts like Amari Cooper. That was the kid the Raiders had a few years, oh that’s right, that was Amari Cooper.
“This is who he is. And Dan, he doesn’t love football. Hell with it. He stops his routes, he does all this. I wouldn’t have paid this turd! No way in hell! No way in hell would I have paid this guy! To me, you pay Dak Prescott. Forget all those numbers. They’re number one in the league because of Dak Prescott, not because of this guy. It’s a deep draft at receiver. They made a huge mistake right here.”
Clearly, Ryan has it out for Cooper. His attack is a bit harsh, but not completely without merit. According to Pro Football Focus, Cooper leads the NFL in drops since he entered the league in 2015. That was a big reason Raider fans soured on him.
Executive Questions If Cooper Was Worth the Contract
Cooper is a special talent and there’s no arguing that. However, there’s almost no way to argue he’s among the five best wide receivers in the NFL. He disappears in big games and has serious drop issues.
“It comes back down to, how many guys are really difference makers?” an anonymous executive said, per The Athletic’s Mike Sando. “That is who you pay the top of the market to. I’m sorry, Amari Cooper helps, but he does not tilt the field. He has not shown up consistently. You can say a lot of negative things about Antonio Brown, but he was a difference maker.”
Towards the end of his tenure with the Raiders, Cooper disappeared completely. Once adversity hits, he doesn’t consistently show the ability to fight through it. He’s a good player and he’s going to make a lot of Pro Bowl in his career, but he’s not among the NFL’s elite.
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Will Raiders Regret Trading Cooper?
When the Raiders decided to ship Cooper to Dallas, they got a first-round pick for it. They used that pick to draft safety Johnathan Abram. He missed all but one game in 2019, but the Raiders are very high on him. How Abram develops will determine who exactly won the Cooper trade.
Regardless, the team probably won’t regret trading him. He clearly wasn’t working in Gruden’s offense and didn’t seem to want to be there. It’s hard to imagine he would’ve signed an extension with the team at any point, so they would’ve lost him after the 2019 season anyway. Cooper gave the Raiders a couple of good years to start his career but was almost nonexistent for his last one and a half seasons. Unless Abram is a total flop, it’s highly doubtful the team will ever regret trading him.