Cleveland Browns: 4 takeaways from first days of 2022 training camp
No. 1: Amari Cooper has extra motivation
In need of a new No. 1 wide receiver, the Browns lucked out this offseason thanks to the Dallas Cowboys foolishly overpaying a running back in 2019. After adding six years onto Ezekiel Elliott’s deal that already had two years remaining (no seriously, they gave a running back an eight-year deal) they found themselves in a cap bind this offseason.
With how Elliott’s deal was structured, it would have actually cost them more money to release him, so they instead dumped Cooper who they just re-signed ahead of 2020.
Cleveland was the benefactor since Dallas took a mere fifth-round pick for a receiver who has 7,076 yards in seven seasons. His worst year in Dallas was 2021 when he had 865 yards on 68 receptions for eight touchdowns.
He also didn’t get the ball near as much as he will in Cleveland since Dallas had CeeDee Lamb, Dalton Schultz, Cedrick Wilson, and Michael Gallup (for part of the season) also commanding touches.
Now with the Browns, Cooper is looking forward to proving the Cowboys made a mistake, saying the trade gave him a chip on his shoulder.
"“To be traded and stuff like that, it’s motivating,’’ he said. “If you don’t have a chip on your shoulder, then what do you have, even if you don’t get traded or released by a team. There should always be some type of motivating factor there.”"
Cooper added that he believes he has the playbook down already, which wouldn’t be a shock whatsoever. When he was traded to Dallas in the middle of the 2018 season, he made an impact after just one week with the team and finished with 725 yards and six touchdowns in nine games.
He’s one of the most skilled route-runners in the game due to his studious approach and now has some extra motivation to prove he’s still one of the top receivers in the game.