With the rise of CeeDee Lamb and Michael Gallup, Amari Cooper has become an afterthought in the Dallas Cowboys offense. The New York Jets also need an X receiver for their offense. Could Gang Green possibly take the risk on Amari Cooper to build around Zach Wilson?
Is Amari Cooper Destined to be a New York Jet?
The New York Jets have a commanding task in what is going to be a very important offseason: finish building the offense around Zach Wilson. Slot receiver Jamison Crowder is set to hit the open market and it doesn’t look like he’ll re-sign. This leaves Elijah Moore and Corey Davis as the remaining receivers along with Michael Carter in the backfield. The team has a possible answer to fill that hole with veteran receiver in Amari Cooper.
Jerry Jones is frustrated with Amari Cooper's contract and relative production.
— Clarence Hill Jr (@clarencehilljr) January 21, 2022
The Pros Of Trading For Amari Cooper
To start, Amari Cooper has been very consistent since being drafted in 2015. He’s had five 1,000-yard seasons in his seven-year career. Cooper had issues with drops early on in his career with the Raiders but that quickly changed as soon as he was traded to the Dallas Cowboys. Over the past two seasons, he’s only registered a 3.8 percent drop rate. He’s also a very good route runner and playmaker.
I also think Amari Cooper be used more in this offense as he would be the best playmaker on the team. He complained about lack of targets and explosiveness on offense on a Dallas radio station. This season, Cooper recorded 68 receptions for 865 yards with eight receiving touchdowns. No Jets receiver has sniffed those statistics since Robby Anderson‘s 2017 season.
Cooper is only 27 and is in the prime of his career which makes a bounce back year even more likely. Cedric Wilson’s stock also rose during the season when Michael Gallup went down with a season-ending injury. Let’s also mention Dalton Schultz rose to the occasion of being a legitimately good tight end.
Schultz, Wilson, and Gallup are all free agents and the Cowboys must make them top priorities. Unfortunately, Dallas is expected to be $21 million over the cap, so re-signing both would be a tough ask. However, moving Amari Cooper’s contract would definitely be a step in working towards that goal.
The Jets have not had a receiver of Cooper’s caliber in quite awhile. He currently ranks third in all players with touchdowns outside of the red zone since 2015. Outside of Elijah Moore and Braxton Berrios, the Jets receiving core just couldn’t punch the ball into the end zone. Amari Cooper would solve that problem.
What Does It Cost The Jets?
It doesn’t seem like the Jets would have to give up a ton for Amari Cooper, especially off of a down season. He’s still a great player, that can’t be denied. What also can’t be denied is the cap hit the Jets would have to take on if they indeed acquire Cooper. Over the next three seasons, Cooper has a cap hit of $22 million per year. Before cap cuts, it would seem like a lot to take on rather than giving up a ton of value.
Perhaps, this could be the Jets version of the Stefon Diggs trade. The Buffalo Bills gave up their first, fourth, and sixth-round picks in the 2020 draft plus a fourth-round pick in the 2021 draft. Diggs was set to make $14 million in each of the next two seasons.
To me, trading for Amari Cooper wouldn’t require sending off a first-round pick since you’re already taking on a big cap hit. Cooper’s trade value would net at least one or two mid-round selections.
The Jets SHOULD Trade For Amari Cooper
Regardless of the cap hit, the New York Jets should definitely trade for Dallas Cowboys receiver Amari Cooper. His skill and talent level alone is a breath of fresh air and brings a presence the Jets haven’t seen in years. Cooper would have the chance to be the first Jets receiver to reach 1,000 receiving yards since Brandon Marshall and Eric Decker both did in 2015.
Many teams can’t afford his huge cap hit plus he’s coming off of a slight decline in his production from last season. The Jets would be one of only 11 teams that can afford Cooper and sign their draft class altogether.
The Dallas Cowboys could cut him before March 6, the day which his salary becomes guaranteed. But I’m sure Dallas would want something in return, rather than losing him for peanuts. Cooper is the odd man out since Cee Dee Lamb has emerged into a top option for the Cowboys. They probably want to bring back Cedrick Wilson, Michael Gallup, and Dalton Schultz as well with many other key contributors on the defensive side of the ball.
If the Jets make this move, the receiving core becomes more respectable and one of the more dynamic ones in the league today. Zach Wilson’s top targets would now be Amari Cooper, Corey Davis, and Elijah Moore along with Michael Carter in the backfield. General manager Joe Douglas would get to show that he can set up his young quarterback for success.