Cleveland Browns trade for Dallas Cowboys' Amari Cooper, let Jarvis Landry seek trade

Nate Ulrich
Akron Beacon Journal
The Browns traded for Dallas Cowboys wide receiver Amari Cooper on Saturday. The Browns sent a fifth-round and a sixth-round pick in the upcoming NFL Draft to the Cowboys for Cooper and the Cowboys' sixth-round pick.

The Browns made it clear bolstering their passing attack would be a top priority this offseason, and they took a major step Saturday by agreeing to trade for Dallas Cowboys wide receiver Amari Cooper.

The deal has been agreed upon, a person familiar with the move confirmed, but it cannot be finalized until free agency officially begins at 4 p.m. Wednesday. USA Today's Josina Anderson first reported the Browns were working on the blockbuster trade.

The Browns will receive Cooper and a sixth-round draft pick in exchange for a fifth-round choice and a sixth-round selection, the source confirmed. All of the picks involved are in next month's draft.

Cooper, 27, is a four-time Pro Bowl selection who has posted more than 1,000 receiving yards in five of his seven NFL seasons.

Cleveland Browns wide receiver Jarvis Landry (80) runs with the ball in the first half of an NFL football game against the Pittsburgh Steelers, Monday, Jan. 3, 2022, in Pittsburgh. (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar)

The Browns have granted Jarvis Landry permission to look for a trade 

Another dramatic change will likely be coming in the receiving corps because the Browns have given five-time Pro Bowler Jarvis Landry permission to seek a trade, a source confirmed.

If no trade comes to fruition, the Browns could make another run at trying to restructure the final season of Landry's contract and retain him, the source said. If the two sides still cannot agree to an adjusted deal, Landry could be released, which had previously been viewed as the most likely outcome for him this offseason.

Landry is scheduled to make $15.1 million in salary and bonuses while carrying a salary-cap hit of $16.38 million in 2022. Cutting him would cost the Browns just $1.5 million in dead cap.

It sounds like farewell:Cleveland Browns GM Andrew Berry says goodbye to Jarvis Landry for the second time

QB Deshaun Watson did not take a snap for the Houston Texans during the 2021 NFL season.

The Cleveland Browns have done due diligence on Deshaun Watson

All eyes are on the Browns' quarterback situation, too.

Houston Texans quarterback Deshaun Watson is expected to be traded soon. The three-time Pro Bowl selection has been accused of sexual misconduct or sexual assault by two dozen women during massage appointments.

A grand jury decided Friday Watson won't be criminally charged, but he still faces 22 civil lawsuits and a likely NFL suspension.

The Browns are among the many teams that have done their due diligence on Watson, a person familiar with the situation confirmed.

Watson has a no-trade clause, so he can control where he lands.

The Browns are not viewed as the most likely team to acquire Watson, but Cleveland cannot be ruled out at this point, either, league sources said.

The Carolina Panthers and Seattle Seahawks are expected to become the top contenders for Watson, ProFootballNetwork.com's Aaron Wilson reported.

The Panthers, Browns, New Orleans Saints and Seahawks have expressed the strongest interest in Watson, USA Today's Mike Jones reported.

NFL Network reported Sunday the Saints and Panthers have submitted offers for Watson and are expected to meet with him.

Although Browns General Manager Andrew Berry has said publicly he "fully" expects Baker Mayfield to be the team's starting quarterback next season and then echoed the sentiment in a meeting with Mayfield's agent at the NFL Scouting Combine, Watson would be an obvious upgrade on the field. After struggling for the vast majority of an injury-plagued 2021 and undergoing surgery on a torn labrum in his left, non-throwing shoulder Jan. 19, Mayfield is only under contract for one more season.

Monitoring QB1 in Cleveland:Browns' Kevin Stefanski backs Baker Mayfield as starter, but won't rule out competition

Los Angeles Rams' Odell Beckham Jr. warms up before the NFC Championship NFL football game against the San Francisco 49ers Sunday, Jan. 30, 2022, in Inglewood, Calif. (AP Photo/Jed Jacobsohn)

Amari Cooper fills void Odell Beckham Jr. created by leaving Cleveland Browns

Cooper, listed by the Cowboys as 6-foot-1 and 210 pounds, should make life easier for anyone who plays quarterback for the Browns.

Cooper will give the offense a true No. 1 receiver after another player who long fit the same description, Odell Beckham Jr., forced his way out of Cleveland in early November and went on to win Super LVI last month with the Los Angeles Rams. Coincidentally, the Browns agreed to deal for Cooper on the third anniversary of their trade with the New York Giants for Beckham, a close friend and former Louisiana State University teammate of Landry.

Drafted fourth overall in 2015 by the Oakland Raiders, Cooper has started 101 of the 108 regular-season games in which he's appeared and caught 517 passes on 818 targets for 7,076 yards and 46 touchdowns.

Last season, he appeared in 15 of 17 regular-season games with 14 starts and compiled 68 catches on 104 targets for 865 yards and eight touchdowns.

In October 2018, the Cowboys traded a first-round pick to the Raiders for Cooper, who made the Pro Bowl in 2015, 2016, 2018 and 2019. He had his best production in 2019, catching 79 passes for a career-high 1,189 receiving yards and tying a career best with eight touchdowns.

In March 2020, Cooper signed a five-year, $100 million contract extension with the Cowboys, who had been trying to trade him recently because his $20 million salary for 2022 becomes guaranteed on March 20. The Cowboys were expected to release Cooper if they couldn't find a trade partner. The Jacksonville Jaguars were among the other suitors on the trade market, Wilson reported.

The Browns will inherit Cooper's contract in the trade and control his rights for three more seasons — through 2024 — but it's possible the two sides could work toward a new deal.

Either way, the Browns have made a huge splash, and they'll probably make another notable move in free agency to strengthen their defensive line.

Amari Cooper catches the go-ahead touchdown against the Vikings.

Nate Ulrich can be reached at nulrich@thebeaconjournal.com.