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Who won the Amari Cooper trade?

The blockbuster trade that sent former Dallas Cowboys star Amari Cooper to the Cleveland Browns seems to have backfired for Cleveland more than Dallas. 

Amari Cooper came into his own as a Dallas Cowboy, which is why the Cowboys sought to keep him. In 2020, Cooper signed a five-year, $100 million extension, but by 2022, Cooper and the Cowboys no longer made financial sense.

The Cowboys traded Cooper and his costly contract to the Cleveland Browns for two fifth-round picks and a swap of sixth-round picks in the 2022 NFL Draft. The picks resulted in offensive lineman Matt Waletzko and linebacker Devin Harper for Dallas, with Cleveland taking wide receiver Mike Woods.

Cowboys Get

2022 5th Round Pick

2022 Fifth Round Pick

2022 6th Round Pick (swap)

Browns Get

Amari Cooper

2022 6th Round PIck (swap)

In 2022, Cooper has proven that he’s still worth the money: he just averaged 24.67 yards per catch with three receptions for 74 yards in a narrow 23-20 loss to the Baltimore Ravens in Week 7. Cooper also had back-to-back games with exactly 101 receiving yards, a notable achievement for any NFL wide receiver.

While Cooper continues to be a phenomenal player, the trade hasn’t played out for the Browns  quite as they hoped, at least not yet. Since the team is now sitting at 2-5 after four straight losses, the trade is currently trending in the Cowboys’ favor: the NFC East team has a flipped record at 5-2.

Both franchises have played without their starting quarterbacks, with Dak Prescott just returning in Week 7 to trounce the Lions while Deshaun Watson remains suspended until Week 12. During that time, the Cowboys have been able to make it work without Cooper, utilizing Ezekiel Elliott and Tony Pollard in the backfield with CeeDee Lamb and Michael Gallup catching passes.

But even with Cooper, the Browns haven’t been able to put enough victories in the win column, making this trade a bigger win for the Cowboys at the moment.

For now, Cowboys win Amari Cooper trade over Browns

One major factor in the trade that hasn’t played a role yet is the fact that Cooper has yet to play with Deshaun Watson. At 2-5, the Browns would be hard-pressed to turn their season around, as it’s unlikely the team can win every other game and go 12-5 at this point.

But the Watson-Cooper connection could pay off for the Browns next season, making this a more even trade in the long run.

Yet as it stands, the Cowboys are able to cope with losing Cooper. Lamb has been a stellar deep threat from the start, joining a long line of iconic Cowboys wideouts early on in his career. Gallup has been impressive as well, and with their split with their running back committee, the Cowboys have been plenty capable moving the chains without Cooper.

The Browns’ offense garnered plenty of attention the first few weeks of the season, but the team has dropped the ball in recent weeks. Cooper, Donovan Peoples-Jones and David Njoku all had impressive games in Week 7, with Peoples-Jones and Njoku catching all of their targets for exactly 71 yards each. But a fumble that turned into a Ravens touchdown made all the difference, ultimately costing the Browns the game.

In the long run, the Amari Cooper trade could be one that works out for both sides. Cooper isn’t the bust many believed him to be back in Oakland, but he needs the right environment for his abilities to make a significant impact on the game. Maybe next year, Cleveland.