Tale of Cooper vs. Tate
PHILADELPHIA (973espn.com) - The Dallas Cowboys and Philadelphia Eagles both wanted to add playmakers to the offense as the NFL's trade deadline approached and both accomplished that goal with the 'Boys sending a first-round pick to Oakland for Amari Cooper and the Birds moving a third-rounder to Detroit for Golden Tate.
Many observers criticized the Cowboys for giving up so much for a player who struggled to catch the football consistently in Oakland while most lauded the Eagles for landing a proven producer, even if the deal shaped up like a baseball-like rental because of Tate's expiring contract.
Value off the field can still be debated in both trades but Dallas is already comfortable with the understanding that Cooper has made them much better at a position of need.
In his first five games with Dallas, the Cowboys are 4-1 with Copper adding an element to the offense that hasn't existed since Dez Bryant suffered a Jones fracture in his foot: a reliable outside-the-numbers option for quarterback Dak Prescott.
Over the five games Cooper has been a Cowboy, he's snared 30 receptions for 424 yards and three touchdowns, all top-10 in the league over that span.
"I just think it helps everybody when you add another weapon to your arsenal," Cowboys coach Jason Garrett said in a conference call with Philadelphia-area reporters when discussing Cooper. "It gives the defenses that much more to deal with. I think any time you have a really good group of players, they all benefit from each other."
Things have gone a bit slower for the Eagles with Tate, perhaps due to a bit of a redundancy on the roster. Best used inside, Tate's value as an intermediate receiver overlaps with players like Zach Ertz, Nelson Agholor, Dallas Goedert and Jordan Matthews.
Tate did break out a bit against Washington last week, hauling in all seven of his targets for 85 yards with a touchdown and a two-point conversation.
The issue seems to be with fit and that the Eagles desperately need a receiver who can stretch the field in the absence of Mike Wallace, a landscape that had them in the Cooper sweepstakes until Dallas' offer went into the first round, as well as calling the Jets to ask about Robby Anderson.
It seems as if the Eagles offense may have turned a corner, however, and instead of worrying about what Tate can't do, focusing in on what made the Notre Dame product a star in Settle and Detroit.
"I think every day that passes that he's here, I think everybody gets more comfortable," Eagles offensive coordinator Mike Groh said. "... He makes us better. We're excited to have him here and what he can do here this next month."
-John McMullen covers the Eagles and the NFL for 973espn.com. You can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @JFMcMullen