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Thursday, December 1, 2022

Why did the Browns trade for Amari Cooper? Wide receiver’s contract allowed Browns to get him for a pittance

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The Cleveland Browns made a somewhat surprising move this offseason when they landed wide receiver Amari Cooper in a trade with the Cowboys. The former No. 4 overall pick was a standout in both Oakland and Dallas, logging five 1,000-plus yard seasons in his first seven seasons. In 2021 he may well have hit that mark, but he missed two games.

So, how did the Browns acquire the four-time Pro Bowler for a fifth-rounder and a sixth-round swap in 2022? Put simply: The Cowboys needed to move Cooper’s contract and the Browns had the space for him for a myriad of reasons.

The Browns also had a need at wide receiver, with Odell Beckham Jr. exiting midseason and Donovan Peoples-Jones having early-career ups and downs.

Thus far, Cooper has fit the bill, He leads the team in receiving at 118 yards and has a touchdown reception with the Browns sitting at 1-1. Cooper is currently getting 2.2 yards of separation per route, which the Browns undoubtedly hope will improve as the season goes on.

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Why did the Cowboys trade Amari Cooper?

The Cowboys simply couldn’t keep paying Cooper what it would cost to keep him on the team.

With CeeDee Lamb emerging as a viable No. 1 receiver for Dallas, Cooper’s five-year, $100 million contract was treated as a redundancy.

Despite Cooper’s production, which was still high, a receiver making $100 million put Cooper in the company of Davante Adams, Tyreek Hill, and A.J. Brown. Teams are looking for elite-level production at the price tag, which Cooper wasn’t living up to.

The Cowboys made it clear they were shopping Cooper, and the Browns were fairly quick to pull the trigger on a deal.

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Why did the Browns trade for Amari Cooper?

The Browns didn’t have to give up much capital to land Cooper. A 2022 fifth-rounder and 2022 sixth-round swap is a small price to pay for a receiver with Cooper’s production, even if the price tag is relatively high.

The Beckham experiment in Cleveland had failed, with him ending up in Los Angeles, and Cooper ostensibly immediately became the No. 1 receiver in Cleveland. He joined a receiving corps that features Peoples-Jones and David Bell, alongside Anthony Schwartz. Making him by far the most accomplished receiver on that corps.

Cooper has made four Pro Bowls in his career, and logged 529 catches, 7,194 yards, and 47 touchdowns. He now has a career catch percentage of 63.4 percent, including 75 percent so far this year.

Here’s a look at the Browns receiving depth chart and their career stats.

Player YR REC YDS TDs Catch %
Amari Cooper 8 529 7,194 47 63.4
Donovan Peoples-Jones 3 54 961 5 60
David Bell R 1 6 0 100
Anthony Schwartz 2 11 154 1 44
Demetric Felton Jr. 2 19 184 2 82.6
Michael Woods II R

The youth of this roster jumps out, and Cooper’s veteran status is undoubtedly a boon for Jacoby Brissett and the Browns.

As the Browns play the Steelers Thursday, they’ll look for more production out of their receiving corps. The Browns are 26th in the league in passing, after being 27th last season. They’ll need more out of everyone moving forward, and it has to start with Cooper.

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