Redskins pursuit of Amari Cooper shows they want to win now

Washington Redskins

The Washington Redskins fell short in their pursuit of Amari Cooper, but the pursuit itself shows a desire to win now.

When it came down to it, Amari Cooper did as expected and went back to the Dallas Cowboys on a five-year, $100 million deal. But there were some other suitors, and one team reportedly offered Cooper significantly more money.

On Tuesday, Washington Redskins head coach Ron Rivera confirmed they pursued Cooper “all the way until the end.”

The Redskins have a glaring need at wide receiver. Terry McLaurin made an immediate impact as a rookie last year, leading the team in receptions (58), yards (919) and touchdowns (seven). Fellow rookie Steven Sims came on late last year, with 16 catches and four touchdowns over the final three games. Paul Richardson was released, and replaced on the depth chart by Cody Latimer in what amounts to a lateral move.

A deep wide receiver class will give Washington an opportunity to add a difference maker beyond the first round. But Cooper is a proven commodity, and the Redskins would have greatly weakened a division rival if they could have signed him. It appears Texas having no state income tax was a factor in Cooper’s decision, alongside his openly professed desire to be a Cowboy for life.

The Redskins were 3-13 last year, and accounting for their long run of dysfunction they don’t seem close to being a contender. But Rivera comes in with credibility, and a new level of expectations is a natural follow.

The Philadelphia Eagles won the NFC East with a 9-7 record last year, and the Cowboys fell well short of expectations at 8-8. The New York Giants were 4-12 and have a new, first-time head coach, which puts them behind the eight-ball with at best a truncated offseason.

In terms of a shortened offseason, Rivera has been here before. He was a first-year head coach in Carolina during the 2011 lockout, and Cam Newton was the No. 1 pick in that year’s draft. The end result wasn’t great, as the Panthers went 6-10 in 2011, but Rivera’s experience in a unique circumstance where teams had a shorter window to work together will help the Redskins now.

Washington went 0-6 in the division last year, with two of those losses by one score and four of them by 10 points or less. If they are just able to split those games this year (which is not out of the question) and win a couple more games they won’t be expected to, suddenly 8-8 is in play.

The Redskins’ pursuit of Cooper fell short, but the pursuit itself shows they want to win now. This is no longer business as has been usual, with Rivera as the face of a much-needed new culture.

Products You May Like

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *