Amari Cooper addresses leaving Dallas for first time since Cowboys trade
It’s been just over a month since the Dallas Cowboys made the decision to trade their WR1, Amari Cooper, to the Cleveland Browns. While there were several rumors and hints that the Cowboys may be letting go of Cooper as a cap casualty early on in the offseason (think Stephen and Jerry Jones talking poorly about him), hearing the confirmation still felt shocking.
On March 12, it was reported that the Cowboys agreed to trade their star receiver and a sixth-round pick to Cleveland for a 2022 fifth-round pick and sixth-round pick. Many felt this was not nearly enough to get in return for one of the best receivers in the game, despite the fact that it freed up salary cap space. In fact, tight end Dalton Schultz recently admitted that the team was better with Cooper.
Regardless, the trade was done. For weeks, Cowboys fans have been waiting to hear Cooper’s side of the situation, especially given the fact that the 27-year-old told reporters that he hoped to stay in Dallas back in January.
Over a month later, the now-Browns wide receiver was asked about the situation in his first press conference with Cleveland. At first, Cooper admits that he “loved being” in Dallas. But just when it seemed like he was about to explain what may have really happened behind the scenes, he ended the quote with “it’s never personal” and that trades, cuts, and things happen in football all the time.
Amari Cooper talks about leaving the Cowboys in his first press conference with the Cleveland Browns
The response is incredibly professional. He’s right. There truly is a business aspect to sports. However, it is a bit sad to hear him say that he liked being in Dallas and didn’t want to leave.
The reality is that ahead of the 2021 season, Cooper earned himself a giant contract. In both 2019 and 2020, he had well over 1,000 yards and even earned a Pro Bowl nod in his first season with Dallas. In 2021, a year where he made $20 million, his production did drop. He had just 865 yards. So, is it understandable that the Joneses were frustrated that they were paying a guy top-dollar for decreased performance? Yes. But does the entirety of his resume mean he was worth throwing out the door for a fifth-round pick and sixth-round pick swap? No. Even guys like AJ Brown and Dez Bryant were shocked by the trade when it happened.
Despite being publically singled out by the Joneses ahead of his departure, Cooper seems to be taking the high road and isn’t harboring any hard feelings. It will certainly be interesting to see him in a Browns uniform next year.