After a considerable amount of buildup and chatter, the Dallas Cowboys finally traded star receiver Amari Cooper to the Cleveland Browns.
The trade made waves on March 12, as the deal was finalized just a few days before the official start to the league year. Cooper and his $22 million salary is headed out of Dallas, alongside a sixth-round pick.
In return, the Cowboys are receiving a fifth and sixth-round pick in the 2022 NFL draft. Not exactly a monumental return for a receiver who totaled 3168 receiving yards and 21 touchdowns in the past three seasons, which caused Tennessee Titans star receiver AJ Brown to take notice.
The 24-year-old took to Twitter to react to the news, and it’s clear the former Ole Miss Rebel wasn’t impressed.
“One of the league’s best route runner,” Brown Tweeted. “Maybe the best route runner in the league is worth a fifth and a sixth-round pick … smh”
Besides showing respect to Cooper and shading the Browns and Cowboys, the other reason this likely caught Brown’s eye is that he’s thinking about his own value. Brown is heading into the fourth year of his rookie deal, and knows that a payday is coming, whether it’s from Tennessee or elsewhere.
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Cowboys Don’t Get Mid-Round Pick for Cooper
Before ESPN insider Adam Schefter reported the trade’s total haul on March 12, The Boardroom reporter Jordan Schultz was the first to link the Browns to Cooper and the Cowboys. However, Schultz’s report makes it seem as if Dallas ended up settling.
“#Browns becoming “real players” in the possible Amari Cooper sweepstakes, per a league source,” Schultz wrote on March 11. “Should the #Cowboys elect to trade — instead of release — the 4x Pro Bowler, I’m told Dallas is seeking a third-round draft choice, but “might settle for a 4.”
Obviously, Dallas didn’t settle for a fourth, they worked all the way down to a fifth. Swapping sixth-round picks aside, it’s a seemingly small return for a star player, but Cooper’s contract was simply too massive to offload easily.
Considering the Cowboys would have had to release Cooper in about a week to avoid his salary cap hit, the Dallas front office had to ensure they got something for the former Alabama star, and that is apparently a fifth-round pick.
Browns Had Competition for Cooper
After the trade was made and reported, Pro Football Network’s NFL insider Aaron Wilson revealed that the Browns had a competitor in the Jacksonville Jaguars. Apparently, Jacksonville wanted Cooper as well but the Browns beat them out.
“The Jacksonville Jaguars looked into Amari Cooper trade scenario, per a league source, and are expected to be a player in the wide receiver free agency market, with Cooper joining the Cleveland Browns via a trade from the Dallas Cowboys,” Wilson wrote.
CBS Sports reporter Jonathan Jones added that the Miami Dolphins and New York Jets were also interested, but that must not have helped drive Cooper’s price up.
However, what’s done is done and the important part of the trade(offloading Cooper’s huge salary) is completed, which should allow the Cowboys to make moves in free agency and extend the contracts of current players.