The Browns are the perfect landing spot for Amari Cooper
There’s been a lot of trade talk surrounding the Raiders recently. As Jon Gruden has completed his takeover in Oakland and consolidated power, he’s put a ton of players drafted by the previous regime on the trade block. Receiver Amari Cooper is the latest who’s rumored to have been shopped, and a slew of teams could be interested. But which landing spot would be the best destination for the young wideout?
The answer is the Cleveland Browns. The Browns make the most sense for multiple reasons, including that they’re desperately in need of receiving help and that they have plenty of extra draft picks that they could trade away. The Browns have more draft ammo than any team in the league, and could easily afford to part with a couple of picks and land Cooper. It’s unclear exactly what the Raiders are asking for in talks, but they’re likely looking for at least a second-rounder, and Ian Rapoport recently reported they were asking some teams for a first round pick. I don’t think the Browns would meet that price, but perhaps they could do something like a second and a third that would please both sides.
Old Browns GM Sashi Brown made a point of acquiring as many draft picks as possible during his time with the team, and left his successor John Dorsey with plenty of picks at his disposal. Dorsey has shown a willingness to be aggressive in the past, so it wouldn’t be at all surprising to see him reach out to Gruden.
The injury bug has bit the Browns’ receiving corp hard recently, with guys like Rashard Higgins, Rod Streater, and Derrick Willies all going down with injuries recently. It’s left rookie quarterback Baker Mayfield with only Jarvis Landry and fellow rookie Antonio Callaway as real receiving options outside. The team signed former Ravens draft bust Breshad Perriman as a reinforcement, but he’s unlikely to make much of an impact. The team was also interested in Dez Bryant at one point, and recently brought in Rishard Matthews for a visit. At this point, I think it would be surprising if Dorsey didn’t go after a veteran receiver either off the street or through a trade, and I think it could definitely be Cooper.
Cooper, the fourth overall pick of the 2015 draft, is in the final year of his rookie deal. Any team that traded for him would also have him under team control for 2019 due to his fifth-year option being exercised. He’s shown he’s capable of being one of the most talented receivers in the game, but his usage has always been inconsistent. He’ll go off for a monster game one minute, then disappear the next. He’s a player who could definitely benefit from a change of scenery, and while Gruden has half-heartedly denied he’s shopping him, I’d be somewhat surprised if he’s still a Raider at the end of the year the way Oakland’s season has been going.
With a divorce likely, I think Gruden will realize he’d rather get something for him than nothing if he walks in free agency, and will try to get a deal done. Of all the teams out there, the Browns seem to clearly make the most sense.