It is not exactly a state secret that the Cleveland Browns need help at the wide receiver position after a disappointing year from the position group in 2021.
While the NFL Draft is still the best option for fixing the situation as a deep class combined with having one or two wide receivers on rookie contracts for four years is a general manager’s dream, veteran wide receiver Amari Cooper of the Dallas Cowboys might be an option for the Browns.
The Cowboys are expected to release Cooper in a salary cap move when the league year begins next week if they can’t trade him, which is where the Browns enter the picture.
According to Jordan Schultz of The Schultz Report, the Browns are “real players” when it comes to Cooper’s next team, and might be able to acquire Cooper for as little as a fourth-round draft pick.
#Browns becoming “real players” in the possible Amari Cooper sweepstakes, per a league source. Should the #Cowboys elect to trade -- instead of release -- the 4x Pro Bowler, I’m told Dallas is seeking a third-round draft choice, but “might settle for a 4.”— Jordan Schultz (@Schultz_Report) March 11, 2022
The idea of adding Cooper to the Browns is not without merit, especially if the cost is a fourth-round draft pick. Cooper just finished his third consecutive season with the Cowboys after starting his career with the Raiders. He had back-to-back seasons of more than 1,000 receiving yards before slipping a bit in 2021 while missing two games, but still averaged 79 receptions for 1,056 yards and seven touchdown receptions the past three years.
Those numbers would vault Cooper to the top of Cleveland’s wide receiver list, who were led last season in receptions by Jarvis Landry (52), in yards by Donovan Peoples-Jones (597) and touchdown receptions by Peoples-Jones (3).
Bring Cooper to town, pair him with a wide receiver (or two) from the draft, mix in Peoples-Jones and Anthony Schwartz, and suddenly Cleveland’s passing game looks a lot better.
The problem with acquiring Cooper via a trade is that means he will bring his contract with him, which calls for his $20 million payday for this season to become fully guaranteed on March 20, according to spotrac.com.
If the Browns are interested they could trade for Cooper, bite the bullet on his salary for the upcoming season, and then see about restructuring the final two years of his contract if they like what they see.
Of course, the Cowboys might be looking at the very same option, according to Calvin Watkins of the Dallas Morning News:
Cowboys still trying to figure out what to do with Amari Cooper, source said. He could get a restructured contract or be sent packing.— Calvin Watkins (@calvinwatkins) March 11, 2022
Or they could take a perhaps more prudent route and just wait for the Cowboys to release Cooper and sign him to a contract. The risk is that they could miss out on him if the price gets too high, but there is the draft to fall back on, so that scenario may not be the end of the world.