The former Cowboys receiver speaks about leaving Dallas.
With players in Dallas saying this week that the team isn’t better without Cooper, the receiver said in a Wednesday press conference with his new team that he didn’t necessarily want to leave the Cowboys.
“It’s not like I disliked being in Dallas — I actually loved being there,” Cooper said. “I wouldn’t say I just wanted to leave. But at the same time, it’s never personal, it’s just business and that’s part of the business of being in this league. Things like that happen all the time. Players get cut, players get traded. There’s no player in the league that’s still in the league from 30 years ago. So it all comes to an end at some point.
“With that said, I am excited about this new chapter and I embrace it. I look forward to the future here.”
The team is excited about having him, too, as head coach Kevin Stefanski said earlier on Wednesday that he’s been impressed with what he’s seen from Cooper so far. Stefanski has also said since the trade that the Browns are going to rely on Cooper in key-passing situations.
The Cowboys decided to re-make their receiving room this offseason.
[Amari] Cooper was such a focal point in the offense since 2018 that, despite the Cowboys’ confidence in Lamb and Gallup moving forward, it’s likely they aren’t done addressing receiver depth this offseason (more on that below). For now, at least we have an idea of roles and expectations for the current depth chart.
Coming off his first career Pro Bowl appearance, Lamb moves into the No. 1 spot and will play more of the flanker role that Cooper previously occupied, head coach Mike McCarthy told reporters in March.
It’s possible that Gallup will return from his knee injury by Week 1, or it could be a couple games into September. Once he’s back, he’ll be a primary option for quarterback Dak Prescott once again.
Washington will have a chance to compete for more playing time than he had in Pittsburgh, where he played just over 30 snaps a game last season and saw only 44 receiving targets, the lowest since his 2018 rookie season.
Could the Cowboys have an untapped resource already at WR?
I know T.J. Vasher is still on the roster. With Dallas losing Amari Cooper and Ced Wilson and having a glaring need at wide receiver, do you think he has a chance to make the roster? The man’s college film is awesome and he measured at 6’6 with an 84-inch wingspan during his college pro day. — TRAVIS NORMAN / CLINTON, IA
Nick: I wouldn’t rule anyone out at this point, especially at wide receiver. There is a reason the Cowboys chose to keep him all year long although he was on IR. His athleticism is freaky good. He’s a player I’ve heard about for years with my ties to Wichita Falls. If he gets out there on the field and has a chance to compete, I think he’s got a decent shot to make the team but only if he can stand out. And to do that, he’s going to have to play to his size and be a jump-ball catcher. Right now, the Cowboys don’t have that guy on the roster other than CeeDee Lamb.
David: Vasher’s size and athleticism are freaky and undeniable. Unfortunately, we don’t know much else because he missed the entire year due to injury. I’m excited to see what he can show us when OTAs ramp up, and then we’ll get a real look during training camp. The Cowboys aren’t afraid to keep six receivers on the final roster, so I definitely don’t want to count him out. It is fair to point out that it might depend on how many receivers they draft, though. This is a team that prefers to protect its draft picks when it’s possible.
This wide receiver has been a popular draft name among Cowboys media recently.
Texas Tech’s Erik Ezukanma, one of the more underrated wide receivers in this year’s draft, is an intriguing prospect. He has a diverse skillset and has a great combination of size and athleticism. With a wide catch radius and strong hands, Ezukanma can haul in almost any pass thrown his way. He can leap to high point a pass or stretch out to catch a difficult pass thrown outside.
Not only does Ezukanma have strong hands, but he’s also dangerous after the catch. Ezukanma lined up primarily in the slot for Texas Tech and was relied on to generate yards after the catch. Thanks to his explosiveness off the line of scrimmage and elusiveness in space, he was able to do that, averaging 24.8 yards per catch. Considering he didn’t get the chance to run many deep routes, that’s extremely impressive. He’s a physical receiver as well, able to bounce off tacklers and churn his legs for more yardage.
In addition to his catch radius and yards after catch ability, Ezukanma is also a strong possession receiver. After losing Amari Cooper, a possession receiver is a need for Dallas, especially in the red zone where Ezukanma thrives. It’s arguably his strongest trait, as he’s better in the middle of the field than any other area. Able to quickly get open, he’s a reliable red-zone target.
Cowboys exec Stephen Jones: ‘I don’t think you ever win the Super Bowl in the offseason’ - Zac Wassink, Yardbarker
More wisdom from Stephen?
The Dallas Cowboys began the new NFL year in March by trading star wide receiver Amari Cooper to the Cleveland Browns and then losing individuals such as receiver Cedrick Wilson Jr. and defensive end Randy Gregory in free agency.
Earlier this month, Cowboys legend and Pro Football Hall of Fame member Michael Irvin remarked that his former employer is “not a better team talent-wise” than it was in January and that Dallas must overcome that reality with “will and togetherness.”
As Kevin Patra noted for the NFL’s website, Cowboys executive vice president Stephen Jones explained during a Tuesday appearance on Dallas’ 105.3 The Fan that the club isn’t “done yet in free agency.” Jones added that no franchise earns the right to hoist the Vince Lombardi Trophy at this time of year.
“I don’t think you ever win the Super Bowl in the offseason,” Jones said. “I think it’s a full body of work that you put together over time. I think we’ll be a better team and I think we can take the next step.”
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