The Washington Redskins-Dallas Cowboys rivalry almost got some extra spice in free agency this offseason.
It had been reported that the Redskins were interested in free-agent wide receiver Amari Cooper before the Cowboys re-signed him. But sometimes that can be overblown. For example, the Redskins were reportedly interested in free-agent tight end Austin Hooper before he signed with the Cleveland Browns, but Washington coach Ron Rivera said the team was not all that interested in Hooper once they heard the price tag.
But Cooper? The Redskins were serious. Very serious. And it almost changed the landscape of the NFC East.
Washington offered Amari Cooper ‘substantial’ money
The Cowboys traded a first-round pick to the Oakland Raiders during the 2018 season for Cooper. That made it imperative the Cowboys lock up Cooper to a long-term deal beyond 2019. Dallas didn’t trade a first-round pick for a season-and-a-half of Cooper.
But Rivera said Washington almost ruined those plans. He revealed that the Redskins fought hard to land Cooper.
"Amari is someone we chased, and we chased very hard all the way up to the very end when he decided to return to Dallas," Rivera said on a conference call with reporters, according to NBC Sports Washington. "We were in it. We were talking about a substantial amount of money."
If you read between the lines, you have to wonder if “substantial amount of money” means Washington offered more than the five-year, $100 million Cooper ended up getting from Dallas.
The Redskins aren’t ready to contend yet, but adding a four-time Pro Bowler who is only 25 years old would have helped. They tried.
"That's a tough one," Rivera said. "We would've loved to have him, have him as a part of what we're trying to do. We believe he'd have been a great veteran presence in the room, especially for those young guys, the young guys who played last year and had success for this football team. So, you'd have felt good about having a veteran guy like that who's had success in this league as part of what you're trying to do."
Dallas was able to retain one of their stars
If the Redskins did offer more money, or even a package that could have bested Dallas’ offer in other ways (perhaps in guaranteed money), then the Cowboys got lucky.
Had Cooper left, Dallas could have shifted their focus and tried to make a run at cornerback Byron Jones, depending on the timing of the decisions by Cooper and Jones. Dallas could have used the money they gave Cooper in other ways. But there wasn’t another receiver available in free agency on Cooper’s level. It would have been a big blow for the Cowboys to lose him, especially to a division rival.
The Cowboys have had a pretty tough offseason. The Redskins tried to make it even worse.
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