In 2018, the Cowboys were 3-4 and struggling immensely on the offensive side of the ball. In a strategic move, the Cowboys traded for Wide Receiver Amari Cooper, sending a 2019 first-round pick to the then Oakland Raiders. It provided immediate dividends as the Cowboys went 7-2 the rest of the season and won the NFC East due in large part to Cooper’s 53 receptions for 725 yards and six touchdowns over that span.
In 2019, Cooper set career highs in yards (1,189), touchdowns (8), and yards per catch (15.1). However, there are a few factors that could see Cooper have his best season in a Cowboys uniform in 2020.
The first factor is the constant progression of Michael Gallup. After 33 receptions for 507 yards and three touchdowns as a rookie, Gallup elevated his game to 66 receptions for 1,107 yards and six touchdowns in 2019, leading the Cowboys with 16.8 yards per catch. The more effective Gallup can be will constantly force defenses to adjust coverage to deal with him, leaving Cooper is more favorable one-on-one matchups. As the Cowboy’s best deep threat, he allows Cooper to do his damage in the middle of the field and toward the sidelines.
Second, is the addition of rookie Wide Receiver CeeDee Lamb. He’s coming off of an excellent final collegiate season with the Oklahoma Sooners. He registered 62 receptions for 1,327 yards and 14 touchdowns, finishing third in the nation with 21.4 yards per catch. Lamb, much like Cooper, can play both in the slot and on the outside. By putting Cooper in the slot it could allow him to really take advantage of what I feel is his best route, the slant, and eat up coverage in the middle of the field and down the seams vertically.
Lastly, and more importantly, will simply be Cooper remaining healthy. He dealt with plantar fasciitis last summer that kept him out for most of the preseason. He also dealt with nagging knee, ankle, and quad issues as well. The fact that he put up career numbers and made his fourth Pro Bowl in five seasons in spite of these setbacks is pretty impressive.
Cooper signed a five-year 100 million dollar extension in March which will undoubtedly be a motivating factor for him to prove his worth. With multiple young studs alongside him and hopefully good health, 2020 could be the best version of Cooper we’ve seen yet in Dallas.