Raiders Reporter: Jon Gruden Building For Vegas

Amari Cooper has WR1 talent, Matt Schneidman said, but there's "a clear fire sale" in Oakland

After Hours With Amy Lawrence
October 23, 2018 - 9:17 am

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If you were surprised that the Oakland Raiders dealt Amari Cooper to Dallas on Monday, you shouldn’t have been.

“I expected him to be traded,” Mercury News Raiders reporter Matt Schneidman said on After Hours with Amy Lawrence. “What I didn’t expect was the Raiders would get a first-round pick for him. I think that was the far more surprising aspect of it. I thought the Raiders would settle for a second-rounder. I thought a team would give a second-rounder for Cooper just because of the flashes he’s shown.”

Cooper, only 24, had a 1,000-yard season as a rookie in 2015 and an 1,100-yard season as a sophomore in 2016. The last year-and-a-half, however, have not been great. Cooper has 70 catches for 960 yards and eight touchdowns in his last 20 games.

“Yes, he has been inconsistent, but I think he’s shown the talent to be a clear-cut No. 1 guy,” Schneidman said. “So I was way more surprised that the Cowboys forked over a first-round pick rather than just the fact that the Raiders traded him. Now they have three first-round picks next year.”

They’ll need them. The Raiders (1-5) have the worst record in the AFC.

“I don’t think the Raiders are tanking, but it’s a clear fire sale and clear rebuild toward the future,” Schneidman said. “Other teams know that the Raiders are in sell mode because obviously they’re not going anywhere this season, Marshawn Lynch is on IR, their left tackle is banged up, Khalil Mack is obviously gone – people could say the Raiders were in rebuild mode from the start by trading their best player. But I think the trade of arguably their best offensive skill player, it just shows they’re in complete fire sale, complete rebuild mode, and Jon Gruden is building for Vegas. I think that’s why I wasn’t surprised. Amari Cooper is one of the more tradable guys because you can get a first-round pick for him.”

Cooper is making $411,000 this season but is slated to make $13.9 million next season. He is an unrestricted free agent in 2020.

“The Raiders probably weren’t even going to keep him next year,” Schneidman said. “He was coming up to the same situation Khalil Mack faced – a long-term contract extension. And with how inconsistent (Cooper) has been in his career – the longest streak he’s had of 100-yard receiving games is just two games, and the past season-and-a-half hasn’t been very good. I don’t think they were going to keep him anyway, so that’s what made him a prime trade candidate.”