The Dallas Cowboys were off to a slow start to the 2018 season, winning only 3 of there first 7 games. During there week 8 bye, the Cowboys thought to have found their difference-maker for the team and specifically at wide receiver. The Cowboys sent over there first-round pick (27 overall) to the then Oakland Raiders in exchange for Amari Cooper. In the short term, Cooper helped lead the team to a 10-6 record and to the second round of the playoffs. In the long term, Amari Cooper would go on to a 1,189-yard season in 2019 along with 8 touchdowns. On top of this Cooper was set to go into free agency soon. Before this could happen the Cowboys made a trip to the bank, paying him 100,000,000 dollars over the next 5 seasons.
This is a tough trade for Raiders fans and there is no doubt that it was a big loss for the team. However, here I will break down the trade, even more, to truly understand the value of the deal. During the 2018 season, the Raiders went 2-6 with Cooper and 2-6 without him. It is hard to say the Raiders could have improved without him but that isn’t too important.
The 2019 draft is where things become interesting. The Raiders held the 4th, 24th, and 27th pick in the first round. After a very debatable pick at 4 in Clelin Ferrell, the Raiders hit a home run at 24 (pick from Kahlil Mack trade” with the selection of star running back Josh Jacobs. Now at 27 (pick from Amari Cooper trade), the Raiders select Mississippi State Safety, Johnathan Abram. Abram would later get hurt week 1 and miss the remainder of the season.
What Should Have Happened
After looking back at how the trade played out, here is my proposal on what should have happened. The Raiders keep Cooper through the 2018 season. Regardless of what happens, they will still have a first-round pick even if that is later in the round. The Raider would now hold 2 first-round picks. One would depend on the remainder of the season and the 24th overall pick from the Khalil Mack trade. It was already proven the Raiders could draft Jacobs at 24. They now have another first-round pick to spare where they could easily select Ferrell or Abrams. Flash forward to the 2020 NFL draft, the Raiders still have there WR1 in Amari Cooper and don’t have to draft Henry Ruggs at 12. This would leave the Raiders with many new options to choose from in the draft.
After all this analysis there is one conclusion: if the Raiders were willing to give Cooper a 5 year 100 million dollar deal and not accept this trade, we would be looking at a very good Las Vegas Raiders football team.