Amari Cooper had his worst season of his young NFL career in 2017, but the Raiders believe that was an aberration.
Cooper, entering the fourth season of his rookie contract, has now had the option on his fifth year exercised by the team – at a reported $13.9 million. So, the former Alabama All-American will be in silver and black another two years, eager to get back on track.
After consecutive 1,000-yard receiving seasons in 2015 and 2016, Cooper slumped to just 680 yards on a career-low 48 catches in 2017. But new head coach Jon Gruden is a Cooper fan, and told reporters at the NFL combine this year that the organization believes Cooper will be a “great player” and he hopes Cooper will “be the focal point of our offense, the headliner in our offense” in 2018.
It's believed that Gruden will use Cooper much differently than he was used last year. Gruden has indicated Cooper will be moved all around, put in motion and in situations to make use of his abilities. Gruden said Cooper’s injuries in 2018 limited him but he loves Cooper’s smarts, versatility and quickness.
As Marc Sessler of NFL.com noted, Cooper had the third-most drops in the NFL in 2017 and seemed to be lost and ignored at multiple times in Raiders games in 2017.
“Injuries and a disorganized offensive approach both played a part in the wideout’s struggles,” wrote Sessler. “The Raiders could have gotten overly cute here (with the option), but the chance of that was always remote. A logical candidate for a bounce-back campaign, Cooper remains a key building block by the Bay.”