There were rumors that the Redskins attempted to pry Amari Cooper from the Cowboys earlier in the offseason and coach Ron Rivera admitted as much during a conference call with the media on Tuesday.
“Amari was somebody we chased hard all the way until the end,” Rivera said (h/t The Team 980). “We would’ve loved to have him a part of what we’re trying to do here. He would’ve been a great veteran presence.”
Washington failed in its effort to bring Cooper in, as the star wide receiver chose to take less money to stay in Dallas. The Redskins, however, will get a chance to see Cooper up close at least two times a year going forward.
Last season, the Redskins held Cooper to eight catches, 136 yards and one touchdown over their two contests, including a meaningless week 17 matchup where Dallas was up big for the majority of the game. Gallup tallied 11 catches for 166 yards and three touchdowns over those games.
Redskins Will Have Issues Covering Cooper Again
Washington struggled overall in its attempts to defend the pass in 2019, ranking 24th in the league, per Football Outsiders. The franchise was well aware of the deficiency and attempted to revamped its secondary this offseason.
It brought Kendall Fuller back to town while adding Ronald Darby on a one-year deal. Fuller just helped the Chiefs win a Super Bowl while Darby spent the past three seasons in Philadelphia where just two years ago, he assisted in the club in stealing a Lombardi Trophy from Tom Brady. Darby has showcased the ability to play at a high level, though injuries ultimately headlined his tenure with the Eagles.
It would be surprising if the team doesn’t address cornerback in the draft given Darby’s injury history and lack of depth at the position. Washington cut ties with Josh Norman this offseason and shipped Quinton Dunbar to Seattle.
The decision to move on from Dunbar was a curious one. Yes, he was looking for a new contract, but the cornerback had a fantastic 2019 season, as Richard Sherman was the only player at the position to have a better campaign, per Pro Football Focus. The University of Florida product played 347 snaps last year, allowing just two touchdowns, and he allowed just 17 first downs across his 52 targets, which is the 10th best rate in the league.
Fuller will help but this secondary still projects to be iffy at best. Expect the pair of Cowboys receivers to eat yet again when playing Washington in 2020, barring another move this offseason.
Cooper is Better Than Rex Ryan Believes
Ryan was hyper-critical of Cooper’s contract, concurring with an unnamed executive who wasn’t Cooper’s biggest fan. Ryan said he wouldn’t have paid the former Alabama product because he doesn’t show up against top competition. While he was sidelined for unknown reasons in the Cowboys’ late in the December contest against the Eagles, Ryan may be out of touch with what the wide receiver brings to the table.
Cooper’s route running and precision is a work of art and his sheer presence on the field elevates the offense. In 2019, only two wide receivers (Michael Thomas, Chris Godwin) provided more value to their respective offenses than Cooper did for the Cowboys.
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