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Thread: Watkins: The Cowboys’ trade for Amari Cooper signals a sense of desperation

  1. #1
    One-armed Knife Sharpener Iamtdg's Avatar
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    Watkins: The Cowboys’ trade for Amari Cooper signals a sense of desperation

    The Cowboys’ trade for Amari Cooper signals a sense of desperation
    By Calvin Watkins Oct 22, 2018

    The Cowboys traded​ a 2019 first-round pick to the​ Raiders for wide receiver Amari Cooper on Monday afternoon.​​ This is not a practical move. It’s a decision borne of desperation and one that will likely cost people their jobs if it doesn’t work.

    With the team spending the morning in Washington D.C. visiting the African-American Museum and the Lincoln Memorial, Cowboys Owner & General Manager Jerry Jones approved a deal that is supposed to save the season.

    Dallas’ wide receivers have been inconsistent and, overall, far below-average. When it was revealed last week that the Raiders were trying to get rid of their former first-round pick, a two-time Pro Bowler, the Cowboys went to work.

    They wanted to know if Cooper could make plays as the X and Z receiver. Dallas uses their receivers in different spots to create mismatches for defenses. If you’re labeled an X receiver, you may run routes normally intended for a slot receiver. The Cowboys operate this way to show versatility in their offense.

    Here’s what one Cowboys official said of Cooper just last week: “Young, talented player but inconsistent and cost is high because Raiders picked up his fifth-year option. They would probably ask for a first-rounder just to see who would be that silly and desperate.”

    Asked whether the Cowboys would give up a one, the official said, “Yeah, we take that approach if we had that commodity.” They had the commodity and ended up willing to surrender it.

    As of Sunday morning, the Cowboys were still in the due-diligence stage. What changed?

    Washington 20, Dallas 17.

    Allen Hurns and Deonte Thompson dropped passes in Sunday’s loss. Hurns made a mistake in the fourth quarter when he caught a pass from Dak Prescott and, instead of running toward the end zone, went out of bounds. It was a nice 33-yard reception, but Hurns should have made more of it.

    Late in the game, Jason Garrett showed a lack of support for his offense by going for the tie instead of the win with less than a minute to play. Maybe if he had confidence in the receivers, he would allow Prescott to make throws toward the end zone.

    The decision to play for the tie backfired on Garrett but after seeing what Dallas acquired Monday you can understand it better.

    If Garrett has no confidence in his wideouts, why should he ask Prescott to use them with the game on the line?

    The Cowboys’ most reliable receiver is Cole Beasley, who leads the team with 33 catches for 350 yards and two touchdowns.

    Rookie Michael Gallup is a developing talent who performed a nice stop-and-go route for his touchdown catch against Washington. Gallup played a team-high 56 snaps in the game Sunday, showing you what the coaches think of him.

    Deonte Thompson, a player the Cowboys acquired in free agency, played 15 snaps. In the last two games, Thompson has played 22 offensive snaps. Gallup has played in 115 offensive snaps.

    You see where this is going.

    A rookie receiver and a slot receiver are Prescott’s most important receivers. The receiver group also includes Hurns, a man who has questioned the playcalling and in a 40-7 win over the Jaguars, had zero catches. He was targeted five times in that game.

    On a fade route in the end zone, Hurns didn’t look for the ball, saying he lost it in the early afternoon sun.

    It’s these kinds of things that make you wonder just what the Cowboys were thinking when they signed him to a two-year deal this past offseason.

    So the top three receivers will now be Beasley, Gallup and Cooper, with Hurns also getting playing time.

    Is Cooper a No. 1 receiver?

    Based on talent, absolutely. But the numbers tell a mixed story.

    Cooper has 22 catches for 280 yards with one touchdown this season. However, Cooper averaged 1,111 yards and 5.5 touchdowns in his first two seasons before an underwhelming 2017 campaign which was affected by injury.

    This year, a concussion has limited his playing time. When healthy he gives the Cowboys a big-play threat, similar to what Dez Bryant used to be.

    The question is inevitable, so we’ll answer it here: The Cowboys had no interest in bringing Bryant back. Jones was asked about him by TMZ Sports Monday.

    “We’ve crossed that bridge but we’re still looking for ways that we could get better,” Jones said. “But I liked the way that our receivers were playing last night, actually.”

    Prescott attacked the defense more on Sunday by attempting riskier throws so that his receivers could make contested catches. Hurns and Thompson generally struggle to do so.

    Is Cooper better?

    He had better be. Because if he isn’t, the people in charge of the playcalling (Scott Linehan) and running the overall operation (Garrett) could be putting their houses on the market.

    The last time the Cowboys gave up a first-round pick for a wide receiver was in 2008. Dallas gave up three picks, including a 2009 first-rounder, to the Lions for Roy Williams. Dallas also signed Williams to a five-year contract extension worth $45 million. It was a terrible deal. In 40 games and 29 starts, Williams made just 94 catches for 1,324 yards and 11 touchdowns.

    You would think the Cowboys learned from this, but desperation changes everything.

    The Cowboys believe they can still reach the playoffs and the future is positive with Prescott as the quarterback. If the team can’t make this work and finishes 7-9 or 8-8, Oakland will pick in the middle of the first round. If the Cowboys kept that pick, they may have selected a wide receiver anyway. If they reach the postseason and Cooper is a positive influence for them, the trade could be worth it. Dallas could then look for a safety, defensive end, or tight end in the second round.

    Of course, the Cowboys can get out of this Cooper deal. He’s due $13.9 million next season as part of the Raiders picking up his fifth-year option. Dallas can get out of the deal by cutting him on the first day of the 2019 league year. It’s doubtful that occurs, because it would mean this trade was a serious mistake.

    Dallas needs Cooper for not only this year but the next one as well. Jones’ approval of this deal means he’s going all-in with this team. He thinks a quality wide receiver, something he thought was on the roster, is all that’s missing for a playoff push.

    There is time to get Cooper acclimated to what the Cowboys want from him as the team is on a bye this week. Nobody is standing in his way on the depth chart, with Tavon Austin (groin) and Terrance Williams (suspension and foot) out for an extended period of time. Brice Butler is another target the Cowboys could utilize, but he’s been mostly a ghost, seeing limited snaps. Adding Cooper makes Butler expendable.

    With the Cowboys mismanaging their offseason at the wide receiver position after missing out on signing Sammy Watkins and settling for Hurns, the fact remains they need a No. 1 guy at the position.

    Cooper might be the guy. After seven weeks the evidence is clear; Dallas screwed up their wide receiver plan this offseason. Jones tried to fix it by trading for Cooper.

    Desperation is here. All that’s left to do is wait to see if it pays off.
    2016 DCC LOTY Fantasy Football Champion

  2. #2
    Senior Member Couchcoach's Avatar
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    Desperation and reaching for an answer was and still is how I feel about this move. And even if he plays like he did his first two seasons, it still won't change Dak's problems with accuracy and reading the field.

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    Senior Member p1_'s Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Couchcoach View Post
    Desperation and reaching for an answer was and still is how I feel about this move. And even if he plays like he did his first two seasons, it still won't change Dak's problems with accuracy and reading the field.
    Hurns was a woefully weak answer to replacing Dez. I think Watkins might have been a good solution, but they apparently deemed him too expensive. And thus desperate Jerry bids against himself and hopes that it means the difference in making the playoffs.
    Sitting on .500

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    Senior Member DLK150's Avatar
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    It was a desperation move to try and salvage the offense but there are still plenty of holes to plug so to me, they're basically pissing in the wind. Maybe the move pans out in the long run but I don't think Cooper is the difference maker they're probably hoping he will be, at least not this season. Still too many variables. Two others that stand out are the currently mediocre OL and QB play.

  5. #5
    Senior Member p1_'s Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DLK150 View Post
    It was a desperation move to try and salvage the offense but there are still plenty of holes to plug so to me, they're basically pissing in the wind. Maybe the move pans out in the long run but I don't think Cooper is the difference maker they're probably hoping he will be, at least not this season. Still too many variables. Two others that stand out are the currently mediocre OL and QB play.
    Dont look now, but Martin has an MCL sprain. Williams had a bad day at Washington, and Collins was abused by Kerrigan. I think Williams struggles have been impacting Tyron as well. Martin has been his consistent self, and Looney has been a pleasant surprise.
    Sitting on .500

  6. #6
    Senior Member Cowboysrock55's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DLK150 View Post
    It was a desperation move to try and salvage the offense but there are still plenty of holes to plug so to me, they're basically pissing in the wind. Maybe the move pans out in the long run but I don't think Cooper is the difference maker they're probably hoping he will be, at least not this season. Still too many variables. Two others that stand out are the currently mediocre OL and QB play.
    I don't think Dak is a total liability. At least not in a Eli Manning or Blake Bortles sense. He has some clutch abilities (Like getting us in position against the Skins) but he has his flaws too. I think if we could get the running game and O-line working well both at home and on the road the offense would at least be solid. We will never put up a ton of yards, it's just not the way we run the offense. But maybe if Dak has certain receivers he can build chemistry with we can get more efficient.

    Regardless in the end the pussification of Garrett is going to sink this team. We all know that. But as long as this wasn't made for the short term I don't care about that. And maybe this will help someone like Dak become a better QB. Which would be a big payoff in the long run. Otherwise it should help out whatever QB steps in next. It's nice to sort of have our starting WR's figured out for awhile. I like the combo of Gallup and Cooper long term.

  7. #7
    Senior Member Cowboysrock55's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by p1_ View Post
    Hurns was a woefully weak answer to replacing Dez. I think Watkins might have been a good solution, but they apparently deemed him too expensive. And thus desperate Jerry bids against himself and hopes that it means the difference in making the playoffs.
    Hurns was just a mistake all around. That's what happens when you go bargain shopping in free agency.

  8. #8
    Senior Member Sheik's Avatar
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    Still hate it.

    The only halfway reasonable explanation I’ve heard has been that they were probably going to draft a WR anyway. If that’s how you defend it, why not trade your first away every year for a “proven” player at a position you’ll probably be looking to draft?

    Still a horrible decision. It’ll be a horrible decision when he ends the year averaging 2.5 catches a game and 30 yards.

  9. #9
    Senior Member Cowboysrock55's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sheik View Post
    Still hate it.

    The only halfway reasonable explanation I’ve heard has been that they were probably going to draft a WR anyway. If that’s how you defend it, why not trade your first away every year for a “proven” player at a position you’ll probably be looking to draft?

    Still a horrible decision. It’ll be a horrible decision when he ends the year averaging 2.5 catches a game and 30 yards.
    It's the excuse we have heard a million times when we trade for a WR. They take too long to develop. They are too hard to scout. A proven player is better than an unknown player.

    Yet these proven WR's never seem to be all that proven when they get to Dallas.

  10. #10
    This has the usual clusterfuck written all over it.

    Bring in a brand new WR who has to learn the offense.

    You are pairing him with a QB that has trouble building chemistry with ANY receiver.

    Guy has had multiple concussions and just took a ridiculous shot to the head against Seattle, so there's that to worry about as well.

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