The Dallas Cowboys are finally bringing in help at the wide receiver position.
According to several media reports that were later confirmed by the organization, the Cowboys would deal a first-round draft pick to the Oakland Raiders for Amari Cooper, a two-time Pro Bowl receiver and former first-round pick himself.
Cooper burst onto the NFL scene immediately after being picked fourth in the 2015, hauling in 72 passes for 1,070 yards and six touchdowns as a rookie. He logged 83 catches for 1,153 yards and five touchdowns in an encore sophomore season.
The past two seasons, though, have been a different story for the Alabama product. He totaled just 48 catches in 12 starts last season – although seven of those catches went for touchdowns. He’s got 22 catches in a middling 2018 campaign.
Even in his Pro Bowl seasons, Cooper has had issues dropping passes. He led the league in drop rate last season (17.2%) and had the NFL's fourth-worst drop rate between 2015-17 (13.62%) – a remarkably bad clip – according to Pro Football Focus.
An ankle injury caused Cooper to miss time last season, but a decline in quarterback play in Oakland can no doubt also be blamed in part for a dip in Cooper’s production.
After a 12-4 campaign in 2016 in which Carr tossed for nearly 4,000 yards, 28 touchdowns and just six interceptions, all three of those categories took serious hits in 2017, a season in which Oakland went just 6-10.
They Raiders are off to a 1-5 start in Jon Gruden’s first year back on the sidelines and out of the broadcast booth.
With Dallas' bye in Week 8, Cooper will have two weeks to get acclimated to the system. Three weeks will go by between Cooper's sixth and seventh games of 2018, since Oakland had a bye in Week 7.
The Cowboys committing a first-rounder to the deal suggest they feel Cooper, who is just 24, can return to something close to Pro Bowl form. The question now will become whether Dak Prescott – and the Cowboys offensive scheme – can provide a more fruitful opportunity for him to do so.