Andrew Berry and company knew that the wide receiver position would be a very important piece of the 2022 offseason. They sure did start that re-tool with a bang on Saturday when they traded for Pro-Bowl wide receiver Amari Cooper. The Browns sent a 2022 5th round pick (155) and a 2022 6th round pick (192) in exchange for Cooper and a 2022 6th round pick (202). So all in all we gave up a 5th round pick and moved back 10 spots in the sixth round in order to secure a valuable piece to the offseason plans. And best believe this won’t be the last move from Cleveland as the league’s free agency period kicks off today.
Amari Cooper: A Profile
|2015*||OAK||130||72||1070||14.9||6||47||68||AP ORoY-3, PB|
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Amari Cooper was the 4th overall pick by the then Oakland Raiders in the 2015 NFL draft. He spent his college years playing for the Alabama Crimson Tide. Cooper was an early declare after posting some outstanding stats his junior season in the SEC. That year he hauled in 124 catches for 1,727 yards and 16 touchdowns all with Blake Sims at quarterback. To put those numbers into some context, he accounted for 42% of team receptions and 44% of the teams total receiving yards. Those are some elite numbers that propelled him to be a top five draft pick.
Cooper spent three and a half years in Oakland. During that time he was named the AP Offensive Rookie of the Year and a three time pro bowler. Despite the impressive start to his career, on October 22, 2018 Amari Cooper was traded to the Dallas Cowboys for a first round pick in the 2019 NFL draft. In his three and a half years in Dallas, Cooper was able to put up over a thousand receiving yards twice and hit his career high in touchdowns twice (8).
Amari will step on the field week one at the age of 28 and be the de facto number one for this Browns’ passing attack. He will bring an element that this offense severely lacked during the 2021 season. Now that was not totally due to the talent level on the field. 2021 was a season marred with injuries in literally every offensive group. Whether it was Baker Mayfield, Kareem Hunt, Jedrick Willis, or Jarvis Landry; this team was never 100%. The hope in Cleveland is that a healthy Baker paired with a stud like Amari will bring us closer to that 2020 playoff offense.
What This Means For The Rest Of The Offseason
Now obviously this move has many ramifications on how the rest of the 2022 offseason plays out. As it stands on this Monday morning post-trade, the Cleveland Browns are about $3 million over the salary cap. There are moves that can be made to change this, so not all is done. We have heard the front office express a desire to keep Austin Hooper on the team for the 2022 season. It is hard to surmise if the Cooper trade will have an effect on that ideal. Keeping Hooper when you have cap space is much different than keeping Hooper while the team is in the red. The team has also granted permission to Jarivs Landry to seek out a trade. There were rumors of Jarvis leaving prior to the Cooper trade and obviously those rumors are a little bit louder now. Jarvis leaving is not a done deal however, as restructuring his contract is always an option if both parties were to agree.
The biggest fallout of this deal may be the difficulty this front office will now face in the re-signing of Jadeveon Clowney. The reported number on the Clowney contract is anywhere from $12 to $15 million per year. That is a number that seems far away from negative $3 million, but it is obtainable. Approximately $32 million can be saved if the team were to move on from Austin Hooper, Jarvis Landry, and Case Keenum this offseason. Any argument can be made either way for those players, but if Clowney is a priority then we can expect to see one of those moves made this week.
The other area that this trade will severely affect is how the front office decides to deploy draft capital over the next two months. The Browns are only down one fifth round pick due to this trade and still have eight picks in total in the 2022 draft. The biggest discussion over the next few weeks will be the thirteenth overall pick. Some will say this move signals 13 being a player along the defensive front, but I believe that wide receiver is still strongly in play in the first round. This move gives us more flexibility with the pick, but a Clowney re-signing will give Andrew Berry total flexibility when selecting in the top half of round one.
This will be a very interesting week for the Cleveland Browns and the NFL as a whole. Free agency is slated to start and who knows what other players will decide to un-retire. All of this may be overshadowing the fact that there are many important college pro days for our scouts and front office to attend over the next few weeks. Expect the news to come hot and heavy this week. Be sure to follow us on Twitter at @footballSapient and myself personally @DanT_NFL to stay on top of all the news as it breaks!