Raiders named ‘big’ loser in Amari Cooper trade from 2018

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During the 2018 season, the Raiders made not one, but two big-time trades that involved Pro Bowl players. Before the season even started, the team traded All-Pro edge rusher Khalil Mack. While that move seemed bad at the time, it doesn’t even compare to the other trade the team made that season.

Before the deadline, the Raiders traded Amari Cooper to the Dallas Cowboys in exchange for a 2019 first-round pick. Since then, Cooper has regained his Pro Bowl form and has averaged just under 75 yards per game with the Cowboys.

In a recent article by Bill Barnwell of ESPN, he took a deep dive into that move and wrote about the biggest winners and losers of the trade. Unfortunately, the Raiders did not come out ahead in this one. Here is a snippet of Barnwell’s thoughts on the trade from the 2018 season:

“This trade doesn’t look quite as enticing for the Raiders, who haven’t replaced Cooper in the lineup and don’t have much to show for the deal. The first-rounder they acquired looked like it might fall in the middle of Round 1, but Dallas’ playoff push dropped the pick down to the 27th selection. There, the Raiders chose Abram, a physical safety who hasn’t shown much more than the desire to hit over his first two seasons. He tore a rotator cuff in his NFL debut and missed the final 15 games of his rookie season, then missed three more games in 2020 with myriad injuries and a COVID-19 absence. He’s not a lock to start in 2021, which is a massive disappointment for Gruden & Co.”

Since being drafted in 2019, Abram has appeared in just 14 games with the Raiders. And when he has played, he has graded out as the worst safety in the NFL, according to Pro Football Focus. In just 13 games last season, he surrendered five touchdowns and had the second-most penalties in the NFL.

Worse yet, the Raiders haven’t been able to find a receiver to replace Cooper. They spent the No. 12 pick in the draft on Henry Ruggs, but he doesn’t project as a No. 1 receiver in the NFL.

While Cooper might not have been a perfect fit in Oakland with Jon Gruden, this is a trade the Raiders likely wish they had back.