Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones is doubling down on his decision to trade wide receiver Amari Cooper last offseason.
Dallas Cowboys owner and general manager Jerry Jones. (Syndication: USA TODAY)
Last year, the Dallas Cowboys were cap-strapped and needed to make some move that would be difficult for any team. One decision that was made was trading wide receiver Amari Cooper, who they acquired during the 2018 season, to the Cleveland Browns in exchange for two fifth-round draft picks in 2022 and a sixth-round pick swap in 2022. While the move did free up cap space, it left a big void in the wide receiver room.
While speaking with the media at the Senior Bowl in Mobile, Ala., Cowboys owner Jerry Jones doubled down on his decision to trade Cooper, saying that it helped build the team that they had this season.
You can listen to Jones’ comments below, courtesy of Calvin Watkins of the Dallas Morning News.
Jerry Jones said he has no regrets trading Amari Cooper. However what was left at that position didn’t produce enough. pic.twitter.com/IpzIta3c5n
— Calvin Watkins (@calvinwatkins) February 1, 2023
Jerry Jones doesn’t regret Amari Cooper trade
“When I look at the salary involved, over $20 million a year, and I look at what we got with that salary to help this team that we wouldn’t have been able to have with this team, had we kept him, I like what we did,” Jones said, h/t ProFootballTalk.
By making this move, the Cowboys freed up $16 million in cap space. Trading Cooper wasn’t the only move that Dallas made last offseason. They also released offensive tackle La’el Collins, who went on to sign a three-year, $21 million contract with the Cincinnati Bengals.
Dallas obviously had CeeDee Lamb leading the way, and they had Michael Gallup return for Week 4 after recovering from a torn ACL. Yet, Dallas was middle of the pack in receiving, as they averaged just 230.1 yards per game (18th in NFL). Having Cooper with Lamb and Gallup really opened things up for the Cowboys.
Without Cooper, the Cowboys struggled, perhaps most evidently during the Divisional Round against the San Francisco 49ers. Lamb was targeted 13 times by quarterback Dak Prescott, and tight end Dalton Schultz received 10 looks. Behind those two in terms of most targets was running back Ezekiel Elliott with four. Gallup received just three targets.
This season in Cleveland, with Jacoby Brissett and Deshaun Watson throwing him the football, Cooper caught 78-of-132 targets for 1,160 yards, and nine touchdowns.
Jones obviously has no regrets about trading away Cooper to free up cap space. It will be interesting to see what they do this offseason. Will they add a wide receiver through free agency? Will they use their first-round pick on a pass-catcher? We’ll find out as the offseason progresses.