Cowboys Send Amari Cooper To Browns (UPDATED)

By Terrance Turner

March 12, 2022 (updated March 14)

The Dallas Cowboys have agreed to trade one of their best receivers.

The Cleveland Browns have agreed to acquire Cowboys wide receiver Amari Cooper in exchange for a 2022 fifth-round draft pick and a swap of 2022 sixth-rounders, NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport reported Saturday. The trade cannot be finalized until the new league year begins at 4 p.m. ET on Wed., March 16. The deal is pending a physical and should be finalized by the middle of next week, according to ESPN.

Cooper was traded to the Cowboys in 2018 and quickly became a leading WR for the team. Cooper, who turns 28 in June, ranked eighth in the league during his time in Dallas in targets (428) among receivers, seventh in receptions (292), ninth in receiving yards (3,893) and ninth in receiving touchdowns (27), according to ESPN Stats & Information data. He posted back-to-back seasons of 1,000 yards receiving in 2019 and 2020, making the Pro Bowl in the former season.

However, there were signs of trouble. According to ESPN writer Jake Trotter, “Cooper’s future with the Cowboys had been in question going back to last offseason, when the club opted not to restructure his contract. While he signed a five-year, $100 million contract in 2020, it was effectively a two-year deal worth $40 million with his 2021 base salary of $20 million not becoming fully guaranteed until March 20.”

Additionally, Cooper’s production declined this year, after catching just 68 passes for 865 yards and eight TDs (per Cowboys owner Jerry Jones expressed frustration with Cooper’s performance in a radio interview. “I don’t have any comment on Cooper’s contract,” Jones said. “I thought that the way we were playing early when we did make something happen, I thought Cooper had a big part of it. And I’m not being trite. But how he fits in, he should take half the field with him when he runs a route. Not half — half is an exaggeration, of course. But a whole bunch of that defense should have to honor Cooper. And he ought to be able to catch it in the middle of when they’re going with him. Others do.” 

Last week, Ian Rapoport reported that the Cowboys would attempt to trade Cooper, but would release him if no deal was reached. If the Cowboys follow through with their plan to part ways with the receiver, it wipes off $16 million from the salary cap, with $6 million in dead money,” wrote NFL writer Kevin Patra.

Apparently, the team has followed through on that offer. The Cowboys will move WR CeeDee lamb into the No. 11 receiver role, per ESPN. This trade will offer the Browns a chance to have a No. 1 receiver of their own after the Odell Beckham Jr. debacle. (Browns traded Beckham Jr. to the Los Angeles Rams in November, where he wound up winning a Super Bowl last month.)

The Browns might not be done in the receiver market. NFL Network’s Mike Garafolo reported later Saturday that the team has granted veteran Jarvis Landry permission to seek a trade — though Landry and his camp are open to remaining in Cleveland. 

UPDATE (March 14): That’s not going to happen. The Browns are releasing Jarvis Landry, according to ESPN reporter Adam Schefter. A league source told Schefter that the two sides had tried to restructure his contract to keep Landry in Cleveland, but couldn’t work out a deal. The Browns had given him the chance to seek a trade. But with Landry set to make $14.3 million in base salary, apparently no trade partner materialized. Landry is now a free agent.

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