From The Shield, to The Star, Amari Cooper is headed to Dallas.
Monday afternoon, the Oakland Raiders officially traded the former No. 4 overall pick to the Dallas Cowboys in exchange for a 2019 first-round pick. During his four seasons as a Raider, Cooper totaled 3,183 receiving yards, 225 receptions, and 19 touchdowns, and was one of the team's most-dynamic playmakers on offense. The Silver and Black's wide receiving corps now consists of Jordy Nelson, Martavis Bryant, Seth Roberts, Dwayne Harris, and Brandon LaFell. It'll be strange to see No. 89 in anything other than the Silver and Black, but his time in Oakland will be remembered fondly by his peers.
Cooper and running back Jalen Richard shared lockers just a couple feet away from one another in the locker room, and over the past two-and-a-half years the two developed a bond. While there were several things about "Coop" that made him a special individual, his work ethic was one thing Richard will never forget.
"He's been a pro, been a pro," Richard said Monday. "Since Day One that I met him, humble guy, quiet guy, obviously he's going to come in every day and go to work, and he's going to handle his business. It's sad [to see him go], especially when you build a relationship with him. We got cool, me and Coop were cool, and we have been playing chess against each other a lot. Hopefully that don't stop, that's my boy, but it's the business."
There's no denying the fact the Raiders are losing an important piece of the offense, but in return General Manager Reggie McKenzie and Head Coach Jon Gruden are getting more pieces to build on what the team already has. At this moment, the Raiders will enter the 2019 NFL Draft with three first round picks. Three first round picks in the same year are hard to come by, and there will be plenty of gifted players to choose from in April.
"We made a trade today with the Dallas Cowboys," McKenzie shared with the media following the trade. "It was an opportunity that I felt I couldn't pass on. To get a first-round pick, in this business here, I thought was invaluable. It's something that I felt like I had to do moving forward for this organization. I love Amari… I just felt when I got a call from Stephen Jones this morning, he put it on the table, what he wanted to do, and he wanted the player, and he gave me the pick, and that's what it came down to."
While Richard, and many other players, may be bummed that Cooper is gone, he knows the front office has a vision, and they're doing everything possible to make that dream a reality.
"If I knew how to run the team I'd be running one, I can sit here and say my opinion on a lot of things, but I don't know what plans they have for us upstairs, and it's the name of the business," Richard explained. "We still got to come in here and perform on Sunday with whoever we got, so just focusing on the Colts, and let everybody else upstairs handle what they got to handle, but I wish my boy the best of luck."
In the wake of Cooper being traded to the NFC East, McKenzie said Monday that the team is going to need its other skill players to step up. The team isn't tanking - Gruden and McKenzie continue to emphasize that - and this Sunday against the Colts will be an interesting game without question. Cooper had a quality career as a Raider, and his contributions won't be forgotten, especially by his teammates.