Going into the offseason, the Cleveland Browns had a clear need at wide receiver.
Once upon a time, the team featured a strong receiving corps, led by Jarvis Landry and Odell Beckham, Jr.
The 2021 season, however, brought that to a screeching halt.
Beckham left the team midseason, disgruntled and ready for a change of scenery.
That change came in the form of the Los Angeles Rams, who, in case you were living under a rock, won the Super Bowl.
Landry, for his part, finished the season with the Browns, but was headed for free agency.
He’s still there and, by the looks of things, does not appear to be heading back to the Browns’ locker room any time soon.
With that in mind, General Manager Andrew Berry knew the receiving cupboard needed restocking.
And he wasted little time adding weapons to the shopping cart.
In early March, the Browns pulled off a trade for Dallas Cowboys wideout Amari Cooper.
Cooper was set to earn north of $16 million, a penny that was far too pretty for Dallas to cough up.
And, all told, it was a great trade for the Browns.
In an offseason hallmarked by pricey wide receiver trades, the deal for Cooper was…frankly a steal.
Cooper isn’t on the level of a Davante Adams or Tyreek Hill (which both netted first and second round picks in return), but is still an excellent offensive contributor.
That the Browns brought Cooper to Cleveland for two late-round picks is a testament to a successful front office strategy.
What can Browns fans expect out of the Alabama product?
For starters, Cooper has the prospect of playing with the best arm talent of his career in Deshaun Watson.
But at this point, it’s just a prospect.
Watson is facing 22 civil suits for sexual assault and harrassment, and the league has yet to step in with its own punishment for Watson.
The offseason has already seen the NFL suspend players like Calvin Ridley for the entire season for participating in gambling, and six games for Deandre Hopkins for use of performance enhancing drugs.
In the event Watson misses time, Cooper would instead be fielding passes from Jacoby Brissett.
Brissett would likely be the worst quarterback that Cooper has played with.
Cooper’s previous two quarterbacks, Derek Carr in Oakland and Dak Prescott in Dallas, are both far better players than Brissett.
Because of that variance under center, it’s hard to predict exactly where Cooper’s stats will fall in the 2022-23 season.
There’s also the fact that Cooper’s days as a number one receiver might be behind him.
In his first three seasons in Dallas, Cooper was a thousand-yard receiver.
Last season, though, his productivity dipped slightly, going for 865 yards on 68 receptions.
He was splitting snaps with Ceedee Lamb and Michael Gallup, which could explain the lull.
Even still, he’ll be entering his eighth season in a league that burns through receivers.
Look at Julio Jones; his road trip from Atlanta to Tennessee must have featured a monumental cliff along the way.
A cliff Jones could never climb back over.
But there are many reasons to be optimistic.
The change of scenery and increased burden could free him up, unlocking a new phase in Cooper’s career.
The last time he was a true no. 1, he was cruising through Pro Bowl selections and going off for 65-plus yards per game.
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