The disappointing Oakland Raiders can be looked at in a lot of different ways right now, but boring clearly isn’t one of them. Today, the purge continued as they shipped the enigmatic and highly inconsistent Amari Cooper to the Dallas Cowboys in exchange for the Cowboys’ first round pick in the 2019 Draft. With the trades of Cooper and Khalil Mack, the Raiders will reportedly now have $74 million in cap space entering the 2019 off-season, as well as three first round picks. The trade of Cooper makes it clear the Raiders are blowing things up and restarting in year one of the new Jon Gruden era. The trade of Cooper has some serious dynasty ramifications.
Let’s explore each player affected by the trade:
Amari Cooper, WR DAL
Consistently one of the most frustrating players to own over the past three seasons, Cooper gets what amounts to be a much needed fresh start. After posting back-to-back 1,000 yard seasons to begin his tenure in Oakland, Cooper was only able to muster 680 yards and seven scores last year in 14 contests. What makes that number even more alarming was the fact he had over 100 yards in only two games and much of his statistical output was due to an 11/210/2 game he had against the Chiefs in early October last year. His production that followed in the six games following that eruption last year amounted to a measly 18 catches for 146 yards and one touchdown.
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Hope sprung eternal for Cooper owners this season who were hoping he’d be the centerpiece of Gruden’s passing offense. Instead, we saw much of the same as Cooper has two games with a total of 18 catches for 244 yards and a touchdown. Unfortunately, the other four contests have given us a combined total of 12 catches for 36 yards, including his last two outings that saw him get targeted a total of two times (though he did leave last week early with a concussion). Still, things were obviously trending in a very bad way for Cooper, so the Raiders made the move. Dallas enthusiasts will say the price is fine because the Cowboys would have likely used that pick on a receiver anyway. Perhaps that’s the case, but Oakland was clearly thrilled to make this trade.
In Dallas, Cooper will enter as the undisputed WR1 on the team. However, dynasty owners who are formulating trade offers and licking their chops to put Cooper in their lineups should realize all the problems he had in Oakland the past few years can’t be blamed solely on the team, quarterback or offense. Simply put, Cooper hasn’t produced on a consistent basis and some of that blame just has to be on him. Still, the Dallas wide receivers have only been able to produce 949 receiving yards on the season and that’s just unacceptable after seven games. After all, Adam Thielen has 822 yards on his own.
In summary, expecting WR1 numbers from Cooper out of the gate would be pretty irresponsible based on his lack of production over the past few years. He’s better suited as a low-end WR2 or high-end WR3 at the moment. If owners were able to get more than that, it has to be considered a bonus. Don’t get me wrong, this is a great move for his dynasty value. In fact, there are very few WR2/3 players with higher long-term upsides. Dynasty owners just need to temper their excitement a bit and not overpay until we see him build some rapport with Dak Prescott. All that said, his ADP should start going back up now that he’s made his way out of Oakland.
Dak Prescott, QB DAL
Prescott has been fine over the past three seasons but it’s clear the loss of Dez Bryant and Jason Witten combined with the lack of receiving talent is stunting this offense. Adding a truly talented player like Cooper should help him in the long run.
Ezekiel Elliott, RB DAL
The Dallas offense is going to revolve around Elliott. You could make a case that having Cooper to deal with defensively should open up some running lanes for him. However, that’s probably wishful thinking and could be a bit of a stretch. It’s not like other teams are suddenly going to forget about stopping the best player on the team.
Michael Gallup, WR DAL
This trade is a bit of a buzzkill for Gallup. Cooper is under contract through next season and you can only imagine the Cowboys will be looking to extend him at some point, just like the Rams did for Brandin Cooks. After all, you don’t trade a valuable first round pick for a player you want to rent for a year and half. Gallup had just been showing some signs of breaking out, especially after catching his first touchdown pass this week and having another called back the week prior. You could argue having Cooper to occupy the defense’s best corner could help Gallup but the pipe dream of him emerging as Prescott’s go-to guy in the long term just took a shot.
Tavon Austin, Cole Beasley, Brice Butler, Allen Hurns, Deonte Thompson, Terrance Williams, WRs DAL
Well, you had your chance, boys. Outside of Beasley, I’m not targeting anyone from this group to clog up my dynasty rosters.
Jordy Nelson, WR OAK
If Nelson survives the trade week, he’s about all the Raiders have left. You’d have to think Nelson is going to get a lot of work.
Martavis Bryant, WR OAK
We’re still waiting to see what happens here but Bryant’s appeal is sure to be heard here soon. At that point, he’s likely going to be suspended yet again. If you have him and any team is interested in the short term now that Cooper is gone, I’d move him as quickly as possible.
Jared Cook, TE OAK
If there’s a player other than Nelson who could benefit, it’s likely Cook. However, keep in mind Cooper only had two targets the past two games anyway. It’s not like there’s a massive target share to go around now.
Derek Carr, QB OAK
This won’t help. Carr has already been struggling and the Raiders now have three first round picks. Could they really be looking at replacing him? It seems like that could be the reality. Perhaps they don’t but tanking teams don’t typically build around their current quarterbacks.
Seth Roberts, Brandon LaFell, Dwayne Harris, WRs OAK
Of this group, I’d expect LaFell to start getting some run. Harris is really a special teamer and Roberts has some intrigue, though he’s also battling a concussion. This is likely the worst receiving corps in football at the moment. It’s arguable if the Raiders even want anyone to produce if they’re really being honest. The best case scenario for them is likely getting the first pick in the draft.
Justin Herbert, QB Oregon
Run back to school, Justin.
Ken is on Twitter at DLF_KenK