Midseason in 2018, the Dallas Cowboys were 3-4 and in desperate need of a spark, especially on offense. Owner Jerry Jones made a move that at first raised some eyebrows because of what the Cowboys gave up to make it happen. Nonetheless, the Cowboys gave up their 2019 first-round pick to acquire Wide Receiver Amari Cooper from the Oakland Raiders, and the team took off.
In the Cowboys final nine games, they went 7-2 and stormed all the way to the NFC East title. In addition to All-Pro Ezekiel Elliott leading the league in rushing over that span, Cooper was outstanding as well with 53 receptions for 725 yards and six touchdowns. During that stretch, however, there were some ups and downs. In weeks 12-14, Cooper was incredible hauling in 26 receptions for 473 yards and five touchdowns. Unfortunately, his season didn’t end on a high note as he only registered 13 receptions for 83 yards and no touchdowns in weeks 15-17. Even with that being said, Cooper was selected to his third Pro Bowl in his first four years.
In 2019, Cooper was once again big time. He set career highs in receiving yards (1,189), touchdowns (8), and yards per catch (15.1). However, like the year previous, there was some inconsistency. He had four touchdowns in the first four games, but simultaneously, he also had under 50 yards in two of them. The next five games were spectacular as Cooper racked up 562 yards and three more touchdowns. The end the Cooper’s season, though, wasn’t anything to brag about. In the final seven games, Cooper failed to reach 100 yards in any of them and only scored one touchdown. The lowest point of this stretch came in Week 12 vs the New England Patriots when he was completely blanked from the stat sheet. Even still, Cooper made his fourth Pro Bowl in his first five seasons.
Cooper dealt with his share of injuries in 2019. Knee and quad issues as well as plantar fasciitis, which can’t fully heal while playing, plagued the Cowboy’s top receiving option. The key thing, however, is Cooper toughed it out and didn’t miss any games.
Why do you still want Cooper on your team? In his 25 games with the Cowboys, he has 132 receptions for 1914 yards and 14 touchdowns. Also, his chemistry with Quarterback Dak Prescott can’t be denied as the two have connected at a 67.7% rate since they started playing with one another. Who wouldn’t take that on their team?
Maybe the biggest reason is the more effective he is it doesn’t allow defenses to key in on Ezekiel Elliott, who’s the engine that makes the Cowboys go. Now, your offense is two dimensional and keeps defenses honest throughout the game. The more defenders are on their heels the more you can control the clock and keep your defense fresh for four quarters. It’s not chess not checkers.
Cooper has made it clear that Dallas is where he wants to be, and he reiterated that recently:
“I love it here. I love everything about this area, the place I live,” Cooper told ESPN’s Todd Archer at the Pro Bowl in Orlando.
Also, he thinks there’s another level that he and Prescott can get to as a duo:
“I think he and I are a very important part of this team and very important pieces in terms of wins and losses,” Cooper said. “I think we can really take over games together, and if we do that consistently, then it’ll be really hard to stop us and be really hard for us to lose.”
You take the good with the bad with Cooper because there’s far more good than bad. Even with the highs and lows, he’s made the Pro Bowl in each of his first two seasons in Dallas and he’s been on the field in uniform for every game as well, your best ability is availability.
Copper will be the team’s top priority once Prescott is secured long-term. He’s proven the Cowboys were smart to give up a first-rounder to get him, now it’s just a matter of getting the right figures in place to keep him for the foreseeable future as he approaches free agency. If I was a betting man, I’d put my money on the Cowboys locking up Cooper before the 2020 season.