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Cowboys news: Reactions to the Amari Cooper trade

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Oakland Raiders v Dallas Cowboys Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images

Well, that was an eventful Monday. We’ve got all the reactions from the day’s events.

The Cowboys Had to Overpay to Get Amari Cooper From the Raiders - Danny Heifetz, The Ringer
Did the Cowboys overpay for Cooper?

In Dallas’s defense, Cooper is 24 years young, came in third in Heisman voting in 2014, and logged at least 1,000 receiving yards, 70 catches, and five touchdowns in both of his first two seasons. A year ago, he had an 11-catch, 210-yard masterpiece. He’s young, has plenty of upside, and will easily be the most talented receiver in Dallas. Assuming the Cowboys sign Cooper to an extension beyond 2019 — it would be an abject disaster if he were to leave in free agency — Cooper would be a steal if Dallas could unlock his potential.

The only hitch is that Jason Garrett is not known for unlocking players’ potential. He is known as the jailer of player potential, from Dez to Dak Prescott to Ezekiel Elliott. Garrett runs the least imaginative offense in the NFL. During Sunday’s Dallas-Washington game, announcer and former Cowboys QB Tony Romo, who hasn’t played in two seasons, explained exactly what the team would and wouldn’t do on its final drive based on how personnel lined up. This came shortly after Bryant attributed his lack of production to opponents knowing what the Cowboys would do before the snap. Perhaps Cooper is worth a first-round pick, but as long as Garrett is the head coach, we are unlikely to find out.

Cowboys acquiring WR Amari Cooper from Raiders - Nick Shook,

Many opinions are that the trade decision was driven by both a weak NFC East and an increasingly hot seat for head coach Jason Garrett.

In the last two seasons combined (20 games), he's caught 70 passes for 960 yards and eight touchdowns. Plenty of teams would still take that type of production, but that's not worth a first-round pick, even with two Pro Bowls under his belt.

Which brings us to the second side of the deal. Dallas, still in contention for the NFC East in 2018 but lacking a go-to receiver in the wake of the departure of Dez Bryant, sends a 2019 first-rounder to Oakland (which now has three of them in 2019) for who the Cowboys likely see as their No. 1 receiver for years to come. Cooper has that potential, without a doubt, and has shown the ability to produce when in an offense that isn't disjointed or downright dysfunctional.

But sending a first on the eve of Week 8 does seem desperate. In terms of the long game, Cooper is probably worth it. But that also includes banking on whether he can establish a rapport with Dak Prescott (or, perhaps, whoever succeeds him at the position), and on Cooper returning to his 2016 form in a new offense.

It also speaks to the warmth of the seat upon which Jason Garrett sits.

Amari Cooper Traded to Cowboys from Raiders for 1st-Round Pick - Kyle Newport, Bleacher Report
Some insights on Cooper the player.

Since Oakland selected Cooper with the fourth overall pick in the 2015 NFL draft, he has become one of the league's best young wideouts. He made the Pro Bowl in each of his first two seasons, topping 1,000 yards each year and hauling in 11 total touchdowns.

Cooper played a key role in helping the franchise end a 13-year playoff drought in 2016.

The 6'1", 210-pound receiver had a down season in 2017, recording only 48 catches for 680 yards. While he did find the end zone seven times, he also missed two games due to a concussion and an ankle injury.

Cooper got off to another slow start this season, notching only 22 catches for 280 yards and a touchdown through the Raiders' first six games. He left the Raiders' Week 6 blowout loss against the Seattle Seahawks early due to a concussion.

The Cowboys’ trade for Amari Cooper signals a sense of desperation – Calvin Watkins, The Athletic
Watkins gives us his insider thoughts, including some interesting quotes from last week by the Cowboys’ leadership.

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.”

The Morning After: Cowboys have too many problems with few solutions in sight – Bob Sturm, The Athletic
The Sturminator weighs in with his usual lengthy recap of Sunday’s loss to the Redskins.

For the entirety of Jason Garrett’s era, best judged by his seven full seasons as coach from 2011-2017, the Dallas Cowboys were a force of nature on the road. You may be chuckling to yourself, but you can look this up and confirm it. From 2011-17, they won more games on the road (33) than any other franchise in this league besides the Patriots.

Before you go on and on about how Saint Tony won all of those games away from home, I will tell you that isn’t the whole truth at all. From 2016-2017, the first two seasons of the “21-4” era, they were second in the NFL in road wins (again, trailing that machine in New England). One thing Jason Garrett teams have consistently done is play well and win on the road. It will surprise many to know this, but it is as true as it gets.

Given that we have established that the Cowboys’ earliest road win in 2018 will have to wait until at least November (they play Philadelphia on November 11th), this season’s status quo is befuddling. The Cowboys are playing a very similar road game over and over again. It is sustainable and repeatable, but running into the same brick wall repeatedly is not anyone’s idea of a positive outcome.

There are just two teams in the NFL who are now 0-4 on the road, and one of them lost their starting QB for the season very early on when Jimmy Garoppolo was lost to an ACL injury. The Cowboys have lost all four games outside of Arlington this year, and given that they have yet to break the elusive 17-point barrier in any of those contests, we are left to look at the offense and ask for an explanation.

The explanation may shock people, as Cowboys running backs are 24th in the NFL at running the ball on the road, averaging 74.5 yards per game. Yesterday in Washington, they totaled 33 yards unless we call Jourdan Lewis a running back for a day, in which case we can kick it up to 40 yards on 16 carries (2.5 per).

Audibles at the Line: Week 7 - Staff, Football Outsiders
Each week the Football Outsider’s staff provides live commentary on the games as they unfold. They reacted like most of us to how the Cowboys’ handled the final seconds.

Dave Bernreuther: They were playing for the field goal as if it was a sure thing. No sense of urgency, taking a 40-plus-yarder for granted.

And then, after a penalty makes it a 52-yarder, the kick clangs off the upright. And that's what you get. And deserve.

I've been in Jason Garrett's corner for the most part (since roster construction isn't on him) but wow. That's another of those things where I'd fire a coach on the spot. That was atrocious.

Vince Verhei: And they run it, then call timeout. They line up for the kick, but a snap infraction penalty moves them back 5 yards, making it a kick of 50-plus ... and the kick goes off the upright and out. Had they called timeout on first down, they could have run another play before the kick and gotten closer. Just terrible.

So here's the reality: Washington is 4-2 alone in first place in the division, and with a game and a half lead over both Dallas and Philadelphia, they're going to be alone in first place after next week too. There's only one team left on their schedule that currently has a winning record: the 4-3 Texans. This is a heavy playoff favorite now, and an awful lot of dominoes would have to fall to knock them out of the postseason race.

Jason Garrett still hasn’t learned from his mistakes - Steven Ruiz, ForTheWin
The criticism of Jason Garrett is only increasing and it’s understandable why. Another opinion finds the head coach’s decisions wanting.

Instead, the Cowboys went conservative again. Prescott made two short throws to Beasley before a short running play by Ezekiel Elliott, followed by that last timeout. Dallas had used 40 seconds and a timeout to move the ball only 15 yards. That set up a game-tying kick from 47 yards out. A makeable kick, sure, but not a gimme either. A pre-snap penalty by long-snapper J.P. Ladoceur made it even more difficult. He was called for a snap infraction, which pushed the kick back five yards yards. Kicker Brett Maher pinged the left upright.

Game over.

As so often happens, a coach who played for a tie, rather than going for the win, ended up with neither. Maybe, just maybe, this would provide Garrett with a moment of clarity.

Cowboys upset over controversial penalty in loss to Redskins - Tom Schad, USAToday
Lost amid Monday’s news is the fact the Cowboys were yet again victimized by the rare application of an obscure rule called under dubious circumstances.

Cowboys long snapper L.P. Ladouceur was confused and frustrated Sunday after he was called for a controversial "snap infraction" penalty in the closing moments of the Dallas Cowboys' 20-17 loss to the Washington Redskins.

"It sucks," he told reporters after the game.

Ladouceur, a 13-year veteran, was penalized after adjusting the positioning of his hands on the ball before a 47-yard field goal attempt that would have tied the game. When he moved his hands, multiple Redskins defensive linemen jumped offsides. The 5-yard penalty resulted in a 52-yard attempt, which kicker Brett Maher ricocheted off the upright.

"This was a terrible call," Dungy said on NBC on Sunday night. "An illegal snap has to be abrupt movement or something unusual. The Dallas center is neither one of those – he's not abrupt and he's not unusual. That is his normal motion."

Cowboys admit WR committee was a mistake; hope Cooper is a No. 1 - Todd Archer, ESPN
Chronicling how the Cowboys’ front office finally came to their conclusion.

When the Cowboys were unable to land Sammy Watkins in free agency in March and released Dez Bryant in April, the team made a decision to go with a committee of receivers to get the job done.

Their belief in the committee lasted seven games.

The Cowboys aren't giving up a first-round pick for Cooper to be part of a committee. The Cowboys hope he develops into a Dez Bryant, Miles Austin, Terrell Owens or Michael Irvin, who served as the Cowboys’ No. 1 receivers for the bulk of Jerry Jones’ tenure as owner and general manager.

The Cowboys had hoped Terrance Williams, Cole Beasley, Allen Hurns, Deonte Thompson, Tavon Austin and Michael Gallup would be enough to make up for the absence of Bryant. Beasley is the only receiver with more than 13 catches this season, leading the Cowboys with 33 receptions for 350 yards and two scores.

Jason Garrett is still on the clock all these years later - Todd Archer, ESPN
The ESPN report also chimes in regarding Garrett’s perpetual conservatism and how it’s holding the team back.

Seven seasons later, late-game management remains one of Jason Garrett’s bigger issues.

In 2011, his first full year as the Dallas Cowboys’ head coach, he became known as the coach who iced his kicker. Dan Bailey made the initial try as Garrett signaled for the timeout but missed the 49-yard redo against the Arizona Cardinals and the Cowboys lost in overtime.

On Sunday, the Cowboys valiantly fought their way back into a game that appeared to be a sure loss to the Washington Redskins after Preston Smith recovered a Dak Prescott fumble for a touchdown with 4:55 to play. But the comeback fell short when Brett Maher’s 52-yard field goal try -- which was pushed back 5 yards because of a snap infraction -- hit the left upright.

But it’s what happened before the penalty that had many scratching their heads, among them former Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo, who was calling the game for CBS.

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