Amari Cooper definitely gives the Cowboys an upgrade at the wide receiver position, but Dallas paid entirely too much to acquire him.
Jon Gruden hasn’t made many savvy moves during his tenure with the Raiders, but he has managed to take advantage of the Dallas Cowboys. Jerry Jones was so desperate for a quality wide receiver that he coughed up a first round pick to get this deal done.
Amazingly, the Raiders may be in a position to control the 2019 NFL Draft. The team now has three first round selections to work with. Oakland has their own, the Cowboys’ selection and the Bears’ pick from the Khalil Mack trade. This doesn’t excuse the foolishness of the Mack deal, but it does make the future a little brighter for the Raiders.
The good news for Dallas is it gets a legitimate starter at wide receiver. It’s unclear exactly how good Cooper is, but he’s certainly an upgrade over the Cowboys’ current group of receivers. Expect him to immediately become Dak Prescott’s No. 1 target.
That doesn’t make the deal a good value for the Cowboys. Let’s dive right into our trade grades.
This is a pure panic move by Jones and the Dallas front office. The Cowboys currently sit at 3-4 and are in real danger of missing the postseason. Clearly, the acquisition of Cooper is designed to save the team’s 2018 campaign.
In all fairness, it might accomplish that goal. The NFC East is one of the weakest divisions in the NFL. Adding a weapon like Cooper could give Dallas enough firepower to finish the season strong and sneak into the playoffs. It doesn’t make it a Super Bowl contender, though.
That’s why they get a failing grade. This roster has a ton of holes and they need to use the draft to fill as many of them as possible. Giving up a first rounder for a player who doesn’t make you a contender is front office malpractice. It’s a desperate attempt by Jones to prop up his head coach.
Give Gruden credit for pulling a rabbit out of his hat on this one. They entire NFL knew he was sick and tired of coaching Cooper and he still managed to get a first round pick for him. This is, by far, his best move in charge of the Raiders.
The harsh reality in Oakland is that this team isn’t going anywhere, anytime soon. The Raiders might as well sell off everyone they can to strengthen their draft capital. It’s obvious Gruden isn’t going to place any trust in a player he didn’t acquire. As such, Cooper had no real value in Oakland.
There are reasonable doubts over whether or not Gruden can make the right selections in the draft, but that’s a question for another day. They absolutely fleeced the Cowboys in this deal.