The Cleveland Browns agreed to a trade on Saturday for wide receiver Amari Cooper of the Dallas Cowboys.
In exchange for Cooper, who has made four Pro Bowls and posted five 1,000-yard receiving seasons in his seven seasons in the NFL, general manager Andrew Berry is sending the club’s fifth-round selection in this year’s NFL Draft and exchanging sixth-round selections with the Cowboys.
From our breaking news coverage: The #Browns traded for #Cowboys WR Amari Cooper. pic.twitter.com/J9GSelVj5C— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) March 12, 2022
While they have agreed on the deal, it will not become official until the new league year begins on Wednesday at 4 p.m.
The Cowboys had been planning to release Cooper if they could not find a trade partner given that he has three years at $20 million a year on his contract, but the Browns were willing to take on that salary to add a player who immediately becomes the team’s No. 1 wide receiver.
Cooper’s salary for this upcoming season will become fully guaranteed on March 20, so it will be interesting to see if Berry decides to approach Cooper's representatives about restructuring his contract.
The Browns will look to offset some of that $20 million by either trading or releasing wide receiver Jarvis Landry, who has a salary of $14.3 million this season. Landry could also accept what would likely be a significant pay cut to stay in town, but the Browns have given him permission to seek a trade, according to NFL Network’s Mike Garafolo.
Following the Amari Cooper trade agreement, #Browns WR Jarvis Landry has permission to seek a trade, according to sources.— Mike Garafolo (@MikeGarafolo) March 12, 2022
In Cooper, the Browns are adding a wide receiver who 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 Landry (52), in yards by Donovan Peoples-Jones (597) and touchdown receptions by Peoples-Jones (3).
With Cooper on board, the Browns also have a bit more flexibility in the 2022 NFL Draft, where they hold the No. 13 overall selection in the first round. Berry can still select a wide receiver at that spot, or if he prefers, a defensive end or defensive tackle and then pick up a wide receiver in the second round.
Cooper and a rookie wide receiver paired with Peoples-Jones, tight end David Njoku, and running backs Nick Chubb and Kareem Hunt would be poised to give Cleveland’s offense a much-needed jumpstart, especially now that quarterback Baker Mayfield is healthy after an injury-plagued 2021 campaign.
A former first-round pick by the Raiders in 2015, Cooper has 517 receptions for 7,076 yards and 46 touchdowns in his NFL career.
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