Dallas Cowboys appear to have made a colossal mistake in 2022

Dallas Cowboys, Cleveland Browns, Amari Cooper - Mandatory Credit: David Dermer-USA TODAY Sports
Dallas Cowboys, Cleveland Browns, Amari Cooper - Mandatory Credit: David Dermer-USA TODAY Sports /

The Cleveland Browns are 2-1 to start the 2022 NFL season, and they’re a disturbing fourth-quarter collapse against the New York Jets away from being a relatively easy 3-0. Somewhat shockingly, the Browns have gotten off to a strong start not because of their defense, but because of their offense, which ranks 7th in the NFL in scoring at over 28 points per game. Nick Chubb and Kareem Hunt — along with the Browns’ offensive line — deserve plenty of credit, but one unsung hero that cannot be overlooked thus far is former Dallas Cowboys wide receiver Amari Cooper.

Although everyone could kind of see it coming from a hundred miles away in the offseason, it looks even clearer now after three games: The Dallas Cowboys made a colossal mistake in trading Amari Cooper, and not really getting anything of value for him in return.

Dallas Cowboys regretting questionable Amari Cooper trade?

Through three games, Cooper has been the most heavily targeted player in the Browns’ offense by a landslide. He’s got 27 targets in three games with 219 yards and two touchdowns on 19 receptions. After his performance on Thursday Night Football against the Pittsburgh Steelers, Cooper became the first Cleveland receiver to have 100 yards in back-to-back games since the 2013 season (Josh Gordon).

Although everyone understood the financial motivations behind trading Cooper in the offseason, the Cowboys had no one to blame but themselves for the financial pickle they found themselves in. Although it’s only been two games for Dallas and we haven’t yet seen Michael Gallup, it’s clear that letting go of Cooper for a fifth-round pick in the offseason was a massive error by Jerry Jones and company.

Wide receiver is a premium position in today’s NFL. Although the Browns don’t have Deshaun Watson out there, Cooper has been able to help give their offense balance with the running game led by a dynamic two-headed monster of Nick Chubb and Kareem Hunt. Cooper has been a security blanket for interim starter Jacoby Brissett who is managing the offense well and completing over 66 percent of his passes so far.

As the season rolls along, we’ll see how much the Dallas Cowboys truly miss a player like Cooper. Again, receiver is such a premium position in today’s NFL but not every team treats it that way. The Cowboys were much better off with Cooper in the fold offensively than they are now, even if someone like Noah Brown is able to step up the rest of the year.

Although Cooper is going to account for some big numbers against the salary cap in 2023 and 2024 for the Browns, they were able to get him for just under $5 million on this year’s cap with a simple restructure. Why would the Dallas Cowboys not have done that? This is a team that was looking like a contender as of last season and a team that finally was able to figure things out defensively.

I get that you don’t always want to kick the proverbial can down the road in these types of situations, but a player like Cooper may have warranted it. Dallas’ decision to trade him is their loss and the Browns’ gain, and potentially a much bigger deal than anyone saw coming back in March.