ALAMEDA (CBS SF/AP) — The struggling Oakland Raiders have reached an agreement to trade star wide receiver Amari Cooper to the Dallas Cowboys for a first round draft pick, according to the team.
The Raiders have stumbled to a disappointing 1-5 start in coach Jon Gruden’s return to the sidelines and have been reportedly shopping a number of players around the league.
Raiders general manager Reggie McKenzie told reporters it was a deal they couldn’t pass up after he received a call from Cowboys executive Stephen Jones.
“This is where we get a great opportunity to build,” McKenzie said. “We’ve got pieces now, but we can really rebuild on what we have. With this group, the coaches that I’ve got here, knowing where we’re heading schematically on both sides of the ball and special teams, we’re going to build this thing. we’ve got the ammunition to build this thing really well.”
Cooper, a 2015 first round draft choice out of Alabama, has 22 catches this season for 280 yards and one touchdown as the Oakland offense has struggled to find a groove.
He is the second high-profile Raider player to be traded this year. Oakland traded reigning NFL Defensive Player Of The Year Khalil Mack to the Chicago Bears for first-round selections in 2019 and 2020, a sixth-rounder next year and a third-rounder in 2020.
Oakland also included its second-round selection in 2020 and a conditional fifth-rounder that year.
The Raiders have now dealt two key pieces away from a 12-win team in 2016 and look to be in major rebuilding mode now.
“It’s disappointing. Real disappointing,” McKenzie said. “It was starting to get that way last year when we somewhat took a nosedive, but I understand the NFL, the system will not allow you to keep them all.”
Dallas (3-4) has struggled to score points while losing all four road games, including 20-17 Sunday at Washington . And Cowboys receivers haven’t made many big plays in their first season without Bryant and retired tight end Jason Witten, the club leader in catches.
The Cowboys decided Dez Bryant wasn’t worth $12.5 million in 2018 after three subpar seasons since signing a big contract following his only All-Pro year in 2014.
Cooper started his career with consecutive 1,000-yard seasons and had two 100-yard games this year, but had just two targets and one catch since the second of those games.
The 24-year-old Cooper — five years younger than Bryant — was placed in the concussion protocol after leaving Oakland’s last game against Seattle on Oct. 14.
Dallas receivers have just one 100-yard game combined through seven games, by Cole Beasley in a Week 6 win over Jacksonville. The Cowboys are going into their bye week, and the Raiders are returning from their break to face Indianapolis at home Sunday.
For Gruden, dealing his most accomplished receiver doesn’t compare to the preseason trade that sent Mack to Chicago. But it is another example of the Raiders looking to the future.
Gruden didn’t speak to reporters, but told ESPN, “We now have five number one picks, so I’m excited about that. We’re not trading anyone else. We’re trying to stay competitive and figure out a way to compete this next game.”
The latest move by the team is giving some Raiders fans a headache.
“Devastated. My husband called me and I couldn’t even work. Just about in tears,” said Raiders fan Wendy Grant.
While Gruden claimed to be working hard to solidify the team roster just last week, longtime fans have a hard time believing that after the trade.
“I’m going to go back to work and try to focus, said Grant with a laugh. And then go home and have a big glass of wine.”
Oakland figures to have a good shot at the No. 1 overall pick in 2019, and now has three first-rounders with the Cooper trade. Cooper has 3,183 yards and 19 touchdowns in three-plus seasons.
It’s not the first time Cowboys owner and general manager Jerry Jones has made a big trade for a former top-10 pick at receiver, and the other two attempts didn’t go well.
In 2000, Jones sent two first-round picks to Seattle for Joey Galloway before the first of three straight 5-11 seasons. Galloway, drafted eighth overall by the Seahawks in 1995, didn’t have a 1,000-yard season in four years with the Cowboys.
About this time 10 years ago, the Cowboys got Roy Williams from Detroit for three draft picks, including a first-rounder. The former Texas standout’s first season with Dallas was his best, with 596 yards receiving and seven touchdowns.
The Cowboys made the playoffs once in two-plus seasons with Williams, in 2009, when they won the franchise’s first postseason game since the last of five Super Bowl victories following the 1995 season. Williams was drafted seventh overall by the Lions in 2004.