Amari Cooper didn't want to take a pay cut to stay with the Dallas Cowboys, who found a taker for his contract.
The Cleveland Browns are getting Cooper cheap, in terms of trade return. On Saturday afternoon the Browns were reportedly close to finalizing a trade that would send a fifth- and sixth-round draft pick to Dallas for Cooper and a sixth-round pick according to ESPN's Adam Schefter. So, essentially, the Browns get a four-time Pro Bowl receiver for a fifth-round pick. And Cooper is just 27 years old.
There is another cost associated with the deal. Cooper signed a five-year, $100 million deal with the Cowboys in 2020. His base salary is $20 million each of the next three seasons. That's a lot for a receiver who, while great at times, has dealt with injuries and inconsistency from his time with the Raiders through his Cowboys stint. That's a reason Dallas essentially chose Michael Gallup over Cooper.
The Browns are gambling, but it's at a position of need. Cleveland couldn't make Odell Beckham Jr. work and when the Browns cut him last season, it left them very thin at receiver. Trading for Cooper and his salary meant the Browns didn't have to compete with other teams to sign him if the Cowboys cut him.
Cooper had some big moments for the Cowboys but Dallas decided he wasn't worth the money anymore. The Browns didn't mind taking on his salary. And now with Cooper on board, the Browns are reportedly making another move: giving wide receiver Jarvis Landry permission to seek a trade.
Following the Amari Cooper trade agreement, #Browns WR Jarvis Landry has permission to seek a trade, according to sources.
— Mike Garafolo (@MikeGarafolo) March 12, 2022
According to NFL Network's Ian Rapoport, Landry and the Browns were discussing a reworked contract. However, with Cooper joining the team, a trade may make more sense — especially since Landry has just one year left on his deal with the Browns which carries a cap hit of over $16 million.