FRISCO, Texas – The Cowboys have made a bold midseason move to bolster their wide receiving corps, agreeing to trade a 2019 first-round pick to the Oakland Raiders for fourth-year wideout Amari Cooper.
Cooper, a former fourth overall pick of the Raiders in 2015, made the Pro Bowl in each of his first two NFL seasons with a pair of 1,000-yard campaigns.
The Cowboys (3-4) are currently tied with the Philadelphia Eagles for second place in the NFC East behind the Washington Redskins (4-2), who beat Dallas 20-17 Sunday at FedEx Field. Reports of an impending trade for Cooper broke as the Cowboys were returning from Washington following a scheduled trip to the National Museum of African American History and Culture. The team is on a bye this week.
The Cowboys have gone with a committee-like approach at receiver this season since parting ways with former No. 1 option Dez Bryant in April. Through seven games, they rank 29th in passing offense with 183.1 yards per game.
Cole Beasley has been quarterback Dak Prescott's top target with 33 catches for 350 yards and 2 touchdowns. The next two leading receivers are running back Ezekiel Elliott (25 catches) and tight end Geoff Swaim (19 catches).
The Cowboys' trio of offseason additions – Allen Hurns, Deonte Thompson and Tavon Austin – have combined for 32 catches, 391 yards and 3 touchdowns as the receiver snaps have been split relatively evenly these first seven games. Austin did not play against Washington due to a groin injury and could miss several more weeks. Veteran Terrance Williams is serving a three-game suspension while on injured reserve with a foot injury.
Rookie Michael Gallup has improved steadily with productive lines in each of the last two games, including his first career touchdown catch Sunday against Washington.
Cooper, the 24-year-old former Alabama star, adds a blend of experience and young talent. His numbers have trended down the last two years – he caught 22 passes for 280 yards and a touchdown in the first six games with Oakland this season – but he's tallied 19 touchdowns in his career. He reportedly suffered a concussion in Week 6 against Seattle and the Raiders were on a bye this past weekend.
Cooper has two games with at least eight catches this year – 10 for 116 in Week 2 at Denver and 8 for 128 and a touchdown against Cleveland in Week 4 – and a total of four catches for 36 yards in the other four games.
This will be the third time since 2000 the Cowboys have traded a top pick for a veteran receiver. They gave up two first-round picks for Joey Galloway in 2000 and multiple picks, including a first-rounder, for Roy Williams in 2008.