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It’s Time To Sign Amari Cooper to Long-Term Deal

It’s Time To Sign Amari Cooper to Long-Term Deal

Reports came out today that the Oakland Raiders are going to exercise Amari Cooper’s 5th year option. As a first round pick, Cooper’s contract has a team option that will tie him to the club through next season. This option does come with a hefty salary cap number of $13.9 million dollars.

Reports out of the Bay Area this weekend have the Oakland Raiders ready to exercise Amari Cooper‘s fifth year option. As a first round pick, Cooper’s contract has a team option that binds him to the club through next season. This option does come with a hefty salary cap number of $13.9 Million – a big number.

Amari Cooper Oakland Raiders

Despite Cooper’s struggles in 2017, he is young and upside and price are too good to pass up.

Yet, that number sounds steep until you consider oft injured wide receiver Sammy Watkins just signed a three-year deal with the hated Kansas City Chiefs which pays him an average of $16 Million a year. Cap numbers like that are a good reason the Raiders should look into getting Cooper’s long term deal done sooner rather than later.

In his first three seasons in the Silver and Black, Cooper has already been selected to two Pro Bowls, amassed 203 receptions for 2,903 yards, and scored 18 touchdowns. Last season’s offensive debacle led to the only season Cooper has not had over 1,000 yards receiving when he totaled just 680 yards.

An amazing aspect of Cooper’s career thus far is how young he is. Cooper won’t turn 24 until June 18th yet already has three seasons of NFL experience. He still has some growing to do from a physical standpoint and the hire of new Raiders head coach Jon Gruden will do just that. Gruden will get the most out of Cooper which, could in turn, drive his price tag up. All the more reason to get a deal done soon.

This play from last season against the aforementioned Chiefs is a perfect example of Cooper’s physical gifts. As Amari comes across the field and makes the catch on this dig route, notice how the safety has a perfect angle to make the tackle. Now watch as Cooper destroys that angle and turns the corner with sheer speed. He is one of those guys that makes running fast look so easy. He doesn’t appear to even be trying.

Gruden will seize upon this and get Cooper moving with the ball in his hands. Some of the most prolific offensive minds in the NFL like 49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan and Los Angeles Rams head coach Sean McVay were once assistant coaches for Gruden. Both of their offensive systems involve getting athletic receivers into space with room to operate. Expect to see the same thing out of the Raiders offense. As good as Amari’s production has been, he has never had an offensive coach who could highlight these natural abilities.

His smooth movements are not just used for pure speed either. Cooper is the best route runner on the team and his ability to beat man coverage will get him even more opportunities under Gruden.

Check out the amount of separation he gains from the cornerback on this play. The corner bites on Amari’s jab step opening up the outside. A well placed ball by quarterback Derek Carr almost lead to him turning the corner for a big play. Slant routes are one of the most common routes in both Gruden’s and offensive coordinator Greg Olson‘s offenses. Amari will get plenty of opportunities to run them.

All of these extra chances to make big plays will certainly add up to increased production, Pro Bowls, and perhaps even being named All-Pro. The accolades and team success will be great for players and fans alike. It will also have Amari’s agent seeing dollar signs during contract negotiations. While Cooper wouldn’t come cheap right now, it may save the team millions of dollars of cap room to lock him up before this season.

What do you think Raider Nation, should the team lock Amari up this offseason? Take the Silver and Black Today poll and let us know.

 

Chris Reed is the former Senior NFL analyst for Silver and Black Today.

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