THE ONE THAT GOT AWAY: Rivera Admits That The Redskins Chased Amari Cooper In Free Agency
The Dallas Cowboys and Washington Redskins dislike towards each other goes all the way back to the 60’s and continues to this day. Their rivalry was rated as “One of the greatest rivalries in sports” by Sports Illustrated in 2005 and Redskins head coach Ron Rivera has added more fuel to the fire this offseason.
In a conference call with reporters on Tuesday, Rivera admitted that they pursued Cowboys wide receiver Amari Cooper until the day he signed his five-year extension worth $100 million back in March.
"Amari was someone that we chased very hard all the way up to the very end," Rivera said. "He decided to return to Dallas. We were in it and we were talking about the substantial money. But at the end of the day, he made a decision he felt was best for him and we respect it."
The former head coach for the Carolina Panthers was seeking veteran leadership at the wide receiver position that would have helped his second-year quarterback Dwayne Haskins develop this season. He was also looking to steal a very valuable asset from a divisional rival. Since joining the Cowboys Cooper has 1,914 yards receiving on 132 catches to go along with 14 touchdowns and is one of Dak Prescott's favorite targets.
Adding Cooper to the lineup would have boosted a Redskins offense that ranked 31st in total offense and last in passing yards at 175.8 a game last season. By not securing Cooper, Washington was left with a void at the No.1 receiver position and will have to look for help in the later rounds of the 2020 NFL Draft. They signed veteran Cody Latimer who spent the last two seasons with the New York Giants to go along with second-year receiver Terry McLaurin who had a phenomenal rookie season with the Redskins (919 yards receiving and seven touchdowns).
"We would've loved to have him as part of what we're trying to do,” said Rivera of Cooper. “We believe he would've been a great veteran presence in the room, especially for those young guys that played last year and had success with this football team. We would've felt good about having a veteran guy like that who's had success in this league as part of what you're trying to do."
Someone might need to pull coach Rivera to the side and remind him about how bad the rivalry between these two teams is. Maybe he can research the infamous “Cowboys Chicken Club” from the 1960’s for some guidance.