Cleveland Browns should target Amari Cooper, if available
By Randy Gurzi
Some who cover the Dallas Cowboys believe Amari Cooper will be available this offseason and if he is, the Cleveland Browns need to make an offer
There’s no denying the Cleveland Browns need help at wide receiver and as fate would have it, one of the top players at the position could be available this offseason. Amari Cooper of the Dallas Cowboys has had his name floated as a player who could be traded away this offseason. In fact, a couple of media members who follow the team have hinted as much.
Former NFL scout Bryan Broaddus of 105.3 The Fan said Cooper and running back Ezekiel Elliot both seemed down after their loss to the San Francisco 49ers not only due to the defeat but the knowledge that big change could be coming.
Bobby Belt, also of 105.3 The Fan, was more direct saying he gets a feeling Cooper is gone — adding that’s just his opinion, but it seems to be a shared one in Dallas.
Should this be the case, the Cleveland Browns absolutely need to be interested in acquiring the services of the former top-five pick.
What Amari Cooper could do for the Cleveland Browns
Cooper, who began his career with the Raiders back in 2015 was traded to the Dallas Cowboys in the middle of the 2018 season and at the time, Dallas was in a similar boat to where Cleveland is now.
They were short on playmakers at receiver after moving on from Dez Bryant in the offseason. Quarterback Dak Prescott was also struggling mightily without a true No. 1 wide receiver — something we saw with Baker Mayfield this season.
The struggles had many concerned Dak was not going to get a second contract but the tide turned as soon as Cooper landed with them. In the first seven weeks of the season before Cooper joined their roster, Prescott failed to hit the 200-yard passing mark four times and the Cowboys were just 3-4 on the season.
After Cooper joined them, Prescott hit at least 200 yards passing in every game after — with the exception of their Week 16 win over Tampa Bay. Even their win total was affected in a positive way as they went from 3-4 without Cooper to 7-2 with him — and that includes a loss in his first appearance against Tennessee.
His precise route-running and ability to shed single-coverage opened the entire offense up for his new team and everything from Prescott’s confidence to the team’s ground game improved because of that.
Why is Cooper available?
So, if Amari Cooper is so talented, why is he potentially available? That has more to do with the roster in Dallas than Cooper’s talent.
The 27-year-old Cooper has 7,076 yards and 46 touchdowns in eight seasons. Even this past year, which wasn’t a good statistical season for him, Cooper had 865 yards and eight touchdowns in 68 receptions. He even voiced his frustration over not getting the ball enough — and when he was targeted, he delivered, including a clutch game-winning catch from Cooper Rush against the Minnesota Vikings.
However, he still found himself playing second-fiddle to an up-and-coming star as CeeDee Lamb drew more targets than anyone else on the team. Lamb finished his second NFL season with 79 receptions for 1,102 yards and six touchdowns.
Dallas also had Dalton Schultz (78 receptions for 808 yards), Michael Gallup (35 receptions for 445 yards in just nine games played), and Cedrick Wilson (45 receptions for 602 yards) meaning the ball was simply being spread all over the place. With all three of these players headed for free agency, Dallas might decide to shed Cooper’s salary and spread the love to keep more playmakers rather than rebuilding an entire supporting cast.
In Cleveland, Cooper would get many more targets — which is something he wants. The Browns would get an elite route runner who already helped a young quarterback find his way in the NFL.
So if they’re serious about giving Baker Mayfield all he needs to succeed in 2022, Cleveland needs to be on the phone with Dallas as soon as possible.