Cowboys Fire Back at Critics of Amari Cooper Trade: ‘Take the Next Step’

Amari Cooper

Getty Amari Cooper celebrates a touchdown for the Dallas Cowboys.

If fans think the Dallas Cowboys are regretting any of their offseason moves yet, they may want to think it over again.

For better or for worse, Dallas has cut, traded, or lost several key starters such as offensive tackle La’el Collins, defensive end DeMarcus Lawrence and, most notably, wide receiver Amari Cooper. All three had been important cogs in the Cowboys’ machine for the past 3-4 seasons, but no longer.

However, Cowboys executive vice president and CEO Stephen Jones doesn’t look at any of those players leaving as an outright negative. On April 19, Jones was asked about the defending Super Bowl champions Los Angeles Rams and whether or not their heavy-spending and aggressive approach to signing and keeping players was affecting Dallas’ outlook.

Essentially, the son of Jerry Jones thinks the team is improved, and it’s not going to require star signings to replace, well, stars.

“I don’t think you ever win the Super Bowl in the offseason,” Jones said on 105.3 The Fan, according to Jon Machota of The Athletic. “I think it’s a full body of work that you put together over time. I think we’ll be a better team and I think we can take the next step.”

While that may be discouraging to fans, Jones did offer some hope when talking about Dallas’ approach going forward. However, the executive also tried to explain that the team could be better without Cooper.

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Jones Name Drops Cooper During Offseason Explanation

When elaborating on his stance with the Cowboys’ approach to the 2022 offseason, Cooper came up specifically. Teams, especially front office leaders, typically shy away from addressing the departures of players but Jones didn’t.

However, it was not like the Cowboys’ CEO said that the team is better with the four-time Pro Bowler like tight end Dalton Schultz did recently. Instead, Jones tried to explain how Cooper’s absence allows better things for WRs CeeDee Lamb and Michael Gallup.

“Sometimes you let a player move on and it allows other players to step up in a bigger role,” Jones said, per Machota. “I know Amari was a great player for us, but this might allow CeeDee and Michael to step up and play a bigger role. And who knows what their upside may be?”

Sure, Gallup and Lamb could become even better with more prominent roles. But there’s really no scenario where a team is better off without a receiver like Cooper.

Cowboys Expect to Be Active in Free Agency

With the 2022 NFL draft in less than two weeks, the primary waves of free agency have passed. There’s still plenty of NFL-quality talent available on the market, but the presence of the draft means that those signings can, for the most part, take a back seat.

In terms of new faces, the Cowboys have landed DE Dante Fowler Jr. and WR James Washington. Neither are like-for-like replacements for Gregory and Cooper, but they at least represent new blood in those positional groups.

While speaking on The Fan, Jones did give away that Dallas is expecting to still sign other new free agents alongside the NFL draft.

“There’s going to be some guys who wait around hoping their market improves, not unlike prior years,” Jones said. “There is a lot of activity early, then things settle down. People pick away at it, but we’ve found some good value over the years, just being patient and seeing what comes our way. But we’re not done yet. I see us still having activity in free agency.”

Jones isn’t wrong, and that is best evidenced by the presence of Jarvis Landry and Odell Beckham Jr. as free agent WRs and Tyrann Mathieu and Joe Haden available as defensive backs.

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