The Dallas Cowboys trade for Amari Cooper was an aggressive move for a team looking to win a relatively weak NFC East this season, and also an admittance of failure in their offseason plan to do just that. A task that would be far less difficult if not for early season losses at Carolina, Seattle, Houston, and most recently Washington, the Cowboys are hopeful that the addition of a true number one wide receiver can bring consistency to their offense.
The Cowboys are averaging 187.6 passing yards per game in their three wins, and 179.8 in four losses – good for 29th in the league with their season average of 183.
This team’s offseason talk of not needing a top receiver can now be traced back through their coaches and players; all with varying levels of job security moving forward after the Cowboys bye week.
Quarterback Dak Prescott has said the right things all along, instilling confidence in receivers that he’s done the best he can with. His budding connection with rookie Wide Receiver Michael Gallup is promising for the addition of Cooper into this offense.
Cole Beasley remains one of the best slot weapons in the NFL, and a go-to guy for Prescott on nearly every drop back. Excuses run thin for the third year QB when considering the viability of Cooper, Gallup, and Beasley as his top three receivers with Ezekiel Elliott in the backfield.
Stephen Jones, who pulled the trigger on the Cowboys sending away a first round pick for Cooper, was also quoted earlier this offseason saying Prescott does not need a number one receiver. Now, it’s Jones that will have a big say in if Prescott needs a second contract as the Cowboys quarterback, set to hit free agency after a minimum of 25 games with Cooper in this offense.
The Cowboys wasted little time handing Prescott the keys to this team in 2016, and have certainly changed more than just the interior of the garage since then. Having to move on from Dak would send waves throughout the organization, but could prove necessary albeit difficult.
To ensure this team is simply going in the right direction, a player with the talent of Cooper almost had to be added to this roster as soon as possible.
Offensive Coordinator Scott Linehan remains the play caller for an offense with less excuses by the week for anemic performances and senseless mistakes. Linehan sure feels like the Cowboys coach on the hottest seat here. With first year coaches below him at wide receiver, offensive line, tight end, and quarterback, Linehan’s offense continues to look stagnant and fails to put players in the best position to succeed.
If this is the case for Cooper in Linehan’s offense, their investment into the 24-year old WR allows for much more of a future with him in a new-look offense than it does for Linehan having a future in Dallas.
Alternating wins and losses through seven weeks this season, the Cowboys return to action at home against the Titans in week nine. Their next two games feel like must-wins, for different reasons. After coming off the bye to play on Monday Night Football against the Texans, the Cowboys will still be searching for their first win on the road this season as they travel to Philadelphia.
Like the Cowboys, the Eagles are 3-4, with a game in London this Sunday against the Jaguars. In a three team race with the 4-2 Redskins for the division, the Cowboys must prove they belong in any playoff conversation before taking advantage of all four division teams stumbling out of the gate.
The Cowboys slow start is easier to move past when considering the way they addressed their biggest issue. Yes, the Cowboys made their trade for Cooper as a desperate team fresh off a brutal loss in Washington. Acquiring an equally desperate receiver in need of a scenery change, the Cowboys found the receiver they didn’t know they needed at the perfect time.
Be it for this year’s playoff push, next year’s realignment of the coaching staff should the playoffs remain a distant dream, or their looming evaluation of Dak Prescott. Such is the significance of the arrival of Amari Cooper, who will remain in Dallas to workout through the bye week with his new quarterback.