There’s been a lot of talk about the Cleveland Browns needing to beef up their wide receiver corps, but Amari Cooper feels they’ll be just fine.
Cooper landed in Cleveland this offseason via a trade from the Dallas Cowboys and is the unquestioned No. 1 receiver for the Browns. However, behind him is uncertainty, with the team relying on Donovan Peoples-Jones, rookie David Bell and drop-happy Anthony Schwartz to take on larger roles.
“Nobody on the team, even with me being the oldest guy in the room, is a finished product,” Cooper told reporters on August 31. “We are trying to get better every day. I am not even judging anybody in the room right now. I understand that we need to come out here and practice as hard as we can so that we can be ready for the games.”
While adding a proven pass catcher has been urged by those outside the organization, Cooper feels fine with the current group.
“I do not feel like we need help,” Cooper said. “I have not been seeing what outside people have been saying, but that is just something that we have to wait and see. Once the games start rolling around, we will see if we need help or not.”
Mike Harley Jr., Javon Wims, JaMarcus Bradley, Daylen Baldwin and Easop Winston were all let go as the Browns trimmed to the roster to 53. Harley and Baldwin were among the 12 players signed to the Browns’ practice squad.
Browns Have Limited Options to Add Productive Receiver
With such an unproven group of talent, the Browns are an injury to Cooper away from being in a dire situation, especially with Cleveland relying on quarterback Jacoby Brissett to hold down the fort through the first 11 games with Deshaun Watson suspended.
But the Browns have limited options to improve the position via available free agents. Names like Cole Beasley and Will Fuller have been floated, but there’s a reason they remain available.
Beasley has notched 550 catches, 5,709 yards and 34 touchdowns in his career and was a reliable option for Josh Allen and the Buffalo Bills the past three seasons. He caught 82 catches in 2020, just missing out on his first 1,000-yard season with 967 yards. He caught 82 balls against last year but registered lower yardage with 693.
Fuller posted 53 catches for 879 yards and eight touchdowns in 2020 with Watson as his QB in Houston, although he missed five games with hamstring and groin injuries. He played just two games with the Miami Dolphins last season after suffering a broken finger.
One name that could be intriguing is Josh Gordon, who was released by the Chiefs during the final roster cutdowns. Gordon had a complicated tenure in Cleveland — to say the least — but was a monster when he was on the field. He led the league in receiving yards in 2013 with 1,646 but hasn’t reached those heights since. Gordon has recorded just 90 catches since leaving the Browns in 2018. He was set to visit with the Tennessee Titans on September 1.
Cooper Embracing Leadership Role With Browns
Cooper isn’t a loud leader, but he makes an impact by leading by example, something the former first-round pick is happy to do.
“I try to come out here and do everything the right way. I do understand that there is an aspect of leading verbally because some guys need that, too,” Cooper said. “With experience comes wisdom so it is easy to articulate those leadership words that the young guys need because I have been through a lot.”
The Cooper and the Browns’ first test comes against a familiar face in Baker Mayfield and the Carolina Panthers on September 11.