The Oakland Raiders set the price so steep for Amari Cooper. The majority of the NFL world laughed at the first rounder sticker price. But lo and behold, it’s Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones who didn’t chuckle; not even smirk.
Cooper to Dallas for a 2019 first-round pick.
“It’s a trade that we feel was an opportunity that I couldn’t pass on to get a first-round pick,” Raiders General Manager Reggie McKenzie told a throng of media, Monday. “In this business here, I thought that was invaluable for me. It was something I felt like I had to do.”
Big D met the Silver & Black’s the steep price to pluck the wide receiver from the Bay and bring him to the Lone Star State in hopes of rejuvenating a stagnant offense missing a true No. 1 threat on the outside.
“Cooper has been inconsistent, but he has shown greatness too,” McKenzie said. “He is a young player still and he is going to do well in Dallas.”
The additional first-rounder gives Raiders Head Coach Jon Gruden ample ammunition in the 2019 draft. Plus, Oakland now holds three selections in the opening round and will have about $74 million in cap space next offseason. The team has two more firsts in 2020 giving it an impressive five selections in the opening stanza in the next two drafts.
“We’re going to build this thing,” he said. “We’ve got the ammunition to build this thing.”
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If McKenzie remains the GM when the Raiders are on the clock for those picks remains to up in the air as rumors run deep on his future. However, he did have this retort when broached with the topic:
“(Gruden’s) not pushing me out. That’s not happening,” McKenzie said.
If there is one thing head coach and GM are in agreement on it’s the notion the team has put the 2018 season in the coffin and is burying it, with a strong denial of tanking.
However, it is difficult to combat that inferno of inquiry considering the Raiders traded their best player — Khalil Mack — and arguably it’s best young pass catcher — Cooper — as the team navigates a 1-5 mark in the first six games.
Oakland still has 10 games to play, however, with three first-round selections this April; Gruden’s draft acumen must fall under a microscope that identifies all the fine fibers of strengths and weaknesses. While draft capital is one thing; selecting and developing talent is another beast, entirely. If Gruden and Co. cannot perfect that craft, the trio of opening-round picks means nothing in the end.
Moreover, here is an absolute optimistic view of the situation: If the Raiders hit on all three first-rounders (if team keeps them and does not deal or package them in a trade), that trio of players will all be seeking major contracts if they flourish — At. The. Same. Time.
Does Gruden keep them or simply cast them off for future talent?
That questions and — How in the world did Seth Roberts outlast Michael Crabtree and Cooper? — need explaining.