NFL Trade Rumors: Raiders Seeking 1st-Round Pick for Amari Cooper Deal

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured ColumnistOctober 15, 2018

MIAMI, FL - SEPTEMBER 23: Amari Cooper #89 of the Oakland Raiders in action against the Miami Dolphins at Hard Rock Stadium on September 23, 2018 in Miami, Florida. (Photo by Mark Brown/Getty Images)
Mark Brown/Getty Images

The Oakland Raiders are setting a steep price for any team interested in acquiring two-time Pro Bowl wide receiver Amari Cooper.

NFL Network's Ian Rapoport reported Monday the Raiders hope to get a first-round draft pick in return for Cooper. Rapoport noted Oakland's demand "might make it difficult—if not impossible" to deal Cooper.

Fox Sports' Jay Glazer reported Sunday the Raiders were shopping Cooper and 2016 first-round draft pick Karl Joseph:

Head coach Jon Gruden issued what could arguably be termed a non-denial denial following his team's 27-3 defeat to the Seattle Seahawks.

"I don't know. No, I haven't heard that," Gruden said of the trade rumors, per Yahoo Sports' Charles Robinson. "You know, I'm not, I'm not, you know, I'm just, uh, sorry to have to deal with a lot of these reports. But, uh, I just hope Amari's OK. Like I said, he's going to be a big part of our pass offense."

Flipping Cooper for a draft pick or two would allow Gruden to continue shaping the Raiders' future to his preferences.

The team already traded Khalil Mack to the Chicago Bears for first-round picks in 2019 and 2020, a 2020 third-rounder and a 2019 sixth-rounder. Granted, Oakland also surrendered a 2020 second-round pick and conditional fifth-round pick.

Mack was one of the elite players at his position, which allowed the Raiders to get back multiple high draft picks from Chicago. Cooper, on the other hand, has taken a step backward after the second of his Pro Bowl appearances in 2016, and he's on pace for the worst year of his NFL career in 2018.

Through six games, the 24-year-old has 22 receptions for 280 yards and a touchdown. He sits 24th among qualified receivers in DYAR (defense-adjusted yards above replacement), per Football Outsiders.

Cooper's contract further complicates matters. The Raiders picked up his fifth-year option in April, which means his salary-cap hit will climb from $7.2 million in 2018 to $13.9 million in 2019, according to Spotrac. He'd then potentially be in line for another pay raise when he becomes a free agent ahead of the 2020 season.

Perhaps Oakland isn't dead set on the idea of trading Cooper and just wants to see if a team is willing to go above and beyond to acquire him.

But if the Raiders truly don't see Cooper as part of their long-term outlook and want to go in a different direction, that isn't likely to happen until they lower their demands.

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