Raiders

NFL rumors: Ex-Raider Amari Cooper has 'shockingly high' contract demands

NFL rumors: Ex-Raider Amari Cooper has 'shockingly high' contract demands

Amari Cooper fit the logo on his helmet after being traded from the Raiders to the Cowboys last season. The wide receiver simply turned into a star in Dallas. 

The 2015 first-round draft pick hauled in 53 receptions for 725 yards and six touchdowns in nine games with the Cowboys. He even added 13 receptions and a touchdown in two playoff games. Through six games as a Raider in 2018, he was a completely different player. 

Cooper only had 22 receptions for 280 yards and one touchdown for the Silver and Black last year. Sometimes a change of scenery is all a player needs, but a hefty bank account helps, too. 

To remain with the Cowboys when he becomes a free agent after the 2019 season, Cooper's contract demands have been "deemed shockingly high," Clarence E. Hill Jr. of the Fort-Worth Star Telegram reported on Tuesday. Hill also states the Cowboys recognize the floor of Cooper's contract should be at least $16 million per season. 

This begs the question, would you rather pay Amari Cooper the big bucks or shell out for new Raiders receiver Antonio Brown? 

The Raiders acquired Brown from the Steelers in March for a 2019 third-round draft pick and a 2019 fifth-round pick. They also immediately gave Brown, who turns 31 in July, a new three-year contract worth more than $50 million.

While he's now in his 30s, there's a strong argument that Brown has been the best wide receiver in football for the past six seasons. Since 2013, he has 686 receptions for 9,145 yards and 67 touchdowns. Brown's also made six straight Pro Bowls and was named a first-team All-Pro four times in the last six years.

Cooper, six years younger than Brown, has been highly inconsistent throughout his career. He's shown his star power with both the Raiders and Cowboys now, but is yet to establish himself as a top pass-catcher in the league. But with his age and natural talent, that could happen sooner rather than later. 

[RELATED: Brown, Carr building rapport in Raiders' offseason program]

The Raiders turned Cooper into the No. 27 pick in this year's draft, which they used on safety Johnathan Abram. They also completely overhauled their receiving corps with Brown and Tyrell Williams, among others.

Negotiations between Cooper and the Cowboys will be worth watching for Raiders fans, especially if Brown and quarterback Derek Carr find an instant connection this season.

How Raiders' 2019 draft class is laying bedrock for sustained success

How Raiders' 2019 draft class is laying bedrock for sustained success

The Raiders assembled quite a collection of talent during last year’s NFL draft. Everyone knows that by now.

First-round safety Johnathan Abram, however, doesn’t want you to forget about those who came directly after.

“Don’t forget Alec Ingold. He’s the man,” Abram said on the Raiders Talk Podcast. “And don’t sleep on A.J. Cole, either. That guy can punt. He’s the real deal.”

Abram’s right. The Raiders even got significant contributions from undrafted players in 2019. Ingold’s the long-term solution at fullback, and Cole’s a specialist off to a good start.

The 2019 rookie class was highlighted by rookie of the year candidates in feature running back Josh Jacobs and 10-sack sensation/defensive end Maxx Crosby. Both guys were runners-up for the offensive and defensive awards, making the Raiders one of two teams in the last 15 years with top-two finishes in both, per the Associated Press' Josh Dubow.

This group showed great depth. Cornerback Trayvon Mullen excelled after assuming a starter’s role following the Gareon Conley trade. Hunter Renfrow proved a quality slot receiver all season but found great form and chemistry with quarterback Derek Carr at its end.

Tight end Foster Moreau was a significant contributor as a run blocker and red-zone receiving target.

The Raiders' rookie class was awesome, despite No. 4 overall pick Clelin Ferrell not quite living up to his draft slot in where he moved around the defensive line and got really sick before midseason. Abram was a non-factor in 2019 after missing 15 games with a shoulder injury.

Members of this Raiders rookie class believe they’re the bedrock of the Raiders rebuild, and 2019 ended with the arrow pointing up. They understand that fact, even if it goes unspoken.

“We talk about it here and there, but it’s more of something we just know,” Crosby said. “We know what we’re here for and how good we can be. Me and John and Josh and Cle and everybody else, we’re all close. For us, we know what Gruden brought us here to do. We’re grinding away and preparing to get in the playoffs and go win some games and eventually win a Super Bowl.”

[RELATED: Raiders safety Abram learned 'valuable lessons' after injury]

The Raiders draft class is recognized among last year’s best, if not right at the top. The group was first in sacks and total yards from scrimmage. They were first in receptions and rushing yards.

It has growth potential, with high ceilings and improvement all around. Ferrell vowed to return a completely different player. Abram will be back and healthy in 2020.

And while offseason rankings don’t mean much, Moreau took umbrage with an NFL Media list placing the Raiders rookie class at No. 7 in the league.

That could fuel fire down the line as the Raiders try to build a roster capable of sustained success. The group had high hopes, with expectations even higher with a season’s experience in hand. It doesn’t just fall on the higher picks. The entire group sees good days ahead.

“That was the best part of it,” Abram said. “No matter what round we came in, we put all that behind us the day we showed up at the facility. We were all hand-selected and brought here for a purpose. We just have to get the job done.”

Are Raiders willing to offer Tom Brady two-year, $60M contract?

Are Raiders willing to offer Tom Brady two-year, $60M contract?

It's February and those Tom Brady-Raiders rumors aren't going anywhere.

The 42-year-old quarterback, who will be 43 when the 2020 season starts, will become a free agent when the new league year starts in March. While conventional wisdom dictates that Brady will return to the New England Patriots, along with a souped-up supporting cast, the Raiders reportedly are set to pursue the six-time Super Bowl champion should he make it to free agency.

It likely will take a hefty sum to lure Brady away from Foxboro, Mass., and longtime sportswriter Larry Fitzgerald Sr., -- who also is the father of Arizona Cardinals star wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald Jr. -- dropped this nugget on Twitter on Friday.

It's worth noting, obviously, that Fitzgerald didn't say who told him that or give any reason to believe this is a legitimate rumor.

But, that number -- $30 million -- likely is around what it will take in reality for Jon Gruden to have a chance at luring Brady to Las Vegas, which he absolutely should try to do if TB12 will hear him out. The Raiders are slated to have around $55 million in salary cap room entering the offseason. While they'd prefer to get Brady a touch cheaper price tag in order to spend on a defense that needs severe upgrades, the Raiders, in theory, can afford to hand over the king's ransom to Brady if that's what it takes. 

Of course, two years and $60 million is a lot to give a quarterback who could lose his fastball and battle with Father Time at any moment. 

[RELATED: AB won't close door on Raiders return]

The smart money is on Brady returning to New England, Derek Carr being the starter in Las Vegas and Gruden using his cap money to improve his defense. But if Brady is thinking about leaving the Patriots, the Raiders know they'll have to put their money where their playoff hopes are.