Saturday, May 21, 2022

Cowboys, Browns working to finalize trade to send Amari Cooper to Cleveland for 5th-round pick, swap of picks

The Dallas Cowboys are working to finalize a trade that will send wide receiver Amari Cooper to the Cleveland Browns, per a league source.

The Browns are believed to be giving up a fifth-round pick, along with a swap of sixth-round picks, in exchange for the four-time Pro Bowl wide receiver. The Jaguars, Dolphins and Jets were among the teams also interested in acquiring the receiver, per source.

Cooper has been on the trading block this offseason just two years after he signed his five-year, $100 million deal with Dallas. He has cap hits of $22 million in each of the next three seasons, and trading him clears $16 million in cap space for Dallas while the Cowboys will carry $6 million in dead money next year.

Trade interest in Cooper increased last week at the NFL Scouting Combine when reports stated Dallas planned to release the receiver. Cooper, 27, is coming off his least productive year since 2017 with the Raiders. He had 68 catches for 865 yards in 2021, though his eight receiving touchdowns tied his career high.

Dallas has been close to completing a long-term deal with wide receiver Michael Gallup. That impending signing, along with franchise tagging tight end Dalton Schultz and the presence of CeeDee Lamb, made Cooper the odd man out in Dallas.

In Cooper, the Browns add a formidable threat to their passing attack alongside Jarvis Landry and newly franchise-tagged tight end David Njoku. The question now is: who will be throwing them the ball in 2022?

Despite publicly committing to former No. 1 overall pick Baker Mayfield this offseason, the Browns have been doing their homework on Houston Texans quarterback Deshaun Watson in recent weeks. With a Houston grand jury deciding not to indict Watson on any criminal charges related to sexual assault allegations, the Browns are one of a number of teams — the Panthers, Saints, Seahawks, Buccaneers and Eagles among them — that could compete for his services.

Watson will spend the next few days evaluating his suitors, and a trade could happen by mid-week next week at the start of free agency.

Cleveland adding a weapon like Cooper can only help the Browns’ chances of landing Watson, who’s looking for a franchise with a good head coach, good offensive line and good defense.

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