FRISCO, Texas – Eighteen hours after the Cowboys rocked the NFL by acquiring Amari Cooper, his new head coach laid out the thought process on the deal.
Cowboys coach Jason Garrett appeared on his weekly interview with 105.3 FM The Fan in Dallas on Tuesday morning, where he explained the Cowboys' reasoning in sending a first-round draft pick to Oakland in exchange for the Pro Bowl receiver.
"He's 24 years old, we feel like he has a lot of physical ability that can help us, and he's absolutely the right kind of guy to want to bring to our football team," Garrett said.
Garrett mentioned Cooper's age multiple times during the course of a 10-minute interview, which highlights the Cowboys' thought process in making the trade. Given his NFL experience at such a young age, the organization clearly views Cooper as a substitute for a future draft pick they might use on a wide receiver in the first place.
"If we were to get into the draft next spring, you would say 'Boy, is there any receiver who's as good as a guy like Amari Cooper,'" Garrett said. "He's not 28, 29, 30. You're not paying a guy for what he's done for the past six, seven, eight years for another team. We feel like he has it in front of him and he can really benefit our team going forward."
The Alabama standout is going to have a chance to do that immediately. Cooper was drafted fourth overall by Oakland back in 2015, and he immediately broke out with seasons of 1,070 yards and 1,153 yards in his first two years.
The past year and a half have been a different story, as Cooper is averaging just 48 yards per game over his last 20 outings with the Raiders. Garrett said a lot of things can contribute to that type of dip, and he added that it didn't dissuade the Cowboys in their decision making.
"Oftentimes, the production of the receiver has a lot to do with a lot of the things around him. Your numbers can be a function of what the environment is and how the team is playing in general," he said.
"He's not a perfect player, nobody is. There's certainly areas where he can improve, but there are so many positives about him – both as a player and his ability and his production and also the kind of person he is."
The timing of the trade is fortuitous for both Cooper and the Cowboys, as they'll have this upcoming bye week to help him acclimate. The Cowboys will practice twice this week before taking the weekend off, and Garrett said the goal is to get him up to speed before the team dives into their preparations for the Tennessee Titans next week.
"We just have to work hard very quickly to get him up to snuff," Garrett said. "It's going to require overtime, by him and by the coaches, to get him going. But we do benefit from the bye and having a few extra days."