The Dallas Cowboys were off to a hot start in 2023 after outsourcing their opponents 70-10 through two weeks.
In Week 1, Dallas rolled past the New York Giants en route to a 40-0 win. The defense took care of business, forcing three turnovers, adding seven sacks, and scoring one touchdown. The following week, the defense continued its dominance. Dallas had three sacks and forced four more turnovers in another blowout 30-10 victory over the New York Jets in Week 2.
Everything had been going right for the Cowboys to start the year until they ran into an apparent buzzsaw in the Arizona Cardinals. All jokes aside, Week 3 was humbling for a Dallas side that had previously been crowned the best team in the NFL.
They're still one of the best teams the league has to offer, but they need to be more consistent to warrant top-of-the-standings consideration.
Still, Dallas sits in a great spot after three games so let's look back at some key decisions the front office made during the 2022 offseason to get there.
3. Amari Cooper trade
When the Cowboys traded wide receiver Amari Cooper during the 2022 offseason, it caught many by surprise. It was more surprising that Dallas traded the Pro Bowler to the Cleveland Browns for a 2022 fifth-round pick and a 2022 sixth-round pick.
A big reason the front office made that deal was to offload Cooper’s contract. The wideout was making $20 million per season, and the team likely didn’t feel he was worth that. He had just 68 catches for 865 yards and eight touchdowns in 2021 with Dallas.
But was the move to get rid of Cooper genius or disastrous?
The trade did allow Lamb to be featured as the WR1 on offense, which did benefit the young playmaker. He had 107 catches for 1,359 yards and nine touchdowns last season without Cooper in Dallas.
As for Cooper, he went on to catch 78 passes for 1,160 yards and nine touchdowns in his first season in Cleveland, catching passes from Jacoby Brissett and a rusty Deshaun Watson in 2022.
It would be electric to have Cooper and a third-year Lamb on offense for Prescott to throw to. Both wideouts are great at getting open and creating space in the middle of the field.
Of course, Cooper’s contract was too much at the time. However, the players that Dallas drafted with those picks haven’t shown any promise yet in the NFL. The Cowboys selected offensive lineman Matt Waletzko in the fifth round and linebacker Devin Harper in the sixth.