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The Cowboys will be Amari Cooper-less come this fall, after Dallas traded the standout receiver to the Browns for a 2022 fifth-round and sixth-round draft pick.
According to owner Jerry Jones, Dallas will be just fine — in fact — Jones recently told Clarence Hill Jr. of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram that the team has an upgrade on its roster. That would be CeeDee Lamb, who is entering his third season in the NFL.
Jones said that while he isn’t trying to slight Cooper, he believes Lamb has the makings of a true No. 1 receiver in the Cowboys offense. Jones reportedly acknowledged that Cooper had his issues and that Lamb could become more complete in “production, in the huddle and off the field.”
Cooper, while a Pro Bowl level receiver, was traded in March due to his production not matching up to his $20 million annual price tag. After back-to-back 1,000-yard campaigns in 2019-20, Cooper took to the field in 15 games in 2021 and recorded his first non 1,000-yard season since 2017, hauling in 68 receptions for 865 yards and eight touchdowns.
Lamb, on the other hand, had the first 1,000-yard season of his career in 2021, racking up 79 catches for 1,102 yards and six scores in 16 games. Lamb’s breakout has left Jones wanting even more and Lamb said he’s excited for the opportunity.
“It’s a dream that I’ve always wanted to live and now that I’m actually living it, I feel like it’s my opportunity to fulfill it,” Lamb said. “So I’m looking at it as an opportunity. I’ve been ready.”
Like Jones, head coach Mike McCarthy is counting on Lamb to be the No. 1 guy in 2022, a role he believes Lamb is ready for.
“This is a great opportunity for him personally,” McCarthy said. “I think just the way we’ve established the offense, particularly in the passing game, the ability for those guys to play different positions, to create matchups and make it harder on the defense to double you and those type of things — my point is, playing in the slot a lot last year and now playing the flanker position.
“And we understand his rise in year three that he’s going to get a lot more attention from the defense. But he’s doing all of the little things that are needed to get him ready to be the No. 1 guy.”