It has been abundantly clear that the Dallas Cowboys are in a dire situation with their receiving core. No one has come even close to replacing what Dez Bryant was able to bring, and they have needed to get creative for any explosive plays in the passing game.
After a shaky start to the season, the Cowboys know that they still have a real shot at the division. Their defense has been elite, and the offense has improved. With the Eagles struggling the way they have, the Cowboys know they have a chance to win the division.
Now, they have gone all in. First round picks are too valuable in the NFL to not expect to get immediate results when you trade one. With Amari Cooper, however, there is a lot of uncertainty and it may be difficult for many people to reconcile trading a first for him.
Cooper has been one of the biggest busts in the NFL over the last two years, but it was not long ago he was one of the most respected receiving prospects in the NFL.
Cooper has never fully actualized his potential, and that first round pick given up by the Cowboys very well could have lead to a much more talented option.
The Cowboys need Cooper to make them better right now, but no one will be delusional enough to think it makes this a championship or bust season. Ultimately, the Cowboys found a talented receiver that will be in a position to grow with Dak Prescott and Ezekiel Elliot.
The Cowboys are young on both sides of the ball, but there is no receiving option that is close to having the talent to instill another offensive big three for the Cowboys. If Cooper can establish continuity with Prescott and Elliot, then this could be a perfect situation for all of them.
In the end, giving up a first round pick means they need immediate results from him. This may not make them championship contenders, but it has to make them relevant in the playoff picture this year. Cooper needs to make sure Prescott gets a umber one option, and it is imperative that avoids the drop troubles that hurt him in the past. He will get opportunites with the Cowboys, but he will be responsible for making more with those chances than he did in Oakland.
We know that Cooper is capable of getting open downfield, and they have an offensive line to give Prescott the time to find him. It may take a bit of time to integrate properly, but the passing game now becomes about making Cooper and Prescott as comfortable as possible together.
This Cooper acquisition should not be looked at as a quick fix option. Any receiver would have made them immediately better, but the Cowboys know any moves that are made have to be done with the future in mind.
Right now, the Cowboys will have the option of locking down these three players for a long term future, and the fact that Cooper is closer in age with room to improve is a big reason why this trade can make sense for the Cowboys.
Cooper is just 24 years old, and his next contract should not break the bank. The Cowboys are taking a lot of risk here, but they are banking on finding a way to get Cooper to reach the potential everyone has seen.
Additionally, if the Cowboys are thinking of long term pay, there is value to be had here. The Cowboys know that there will be no discount with Elliot and quarterbacks never come cheap. The Cowboys did not want to pay Bryant, and they are figuring that they will never have to pay Cooper that kind of money, while getting Prescott his clear cut number one option.
Losing that first round pick still makes this a high risk move. Losing that pick could put a brutal halt on a potential rebuilt or retooling and there is good reason to think Cooper will never work out the way people once thought he could.
By losing that first round pick, winning this trade is not only about getting better this year. The key to success in this trade is getting a number one wide receiver to spend years with Prescott without being too expensive.