ALAMEDA — The Raiders locked up wide receiver Amari Cooper through the 2019 season by exercising his fifth-year option, the club announced Monday.
The move was expected, even given Cooper’s falloff in terms of performance last season. Coach Jon Gruden is counting on making Cooper a focal point of the Raiders offense in 2018, with the Raiders releasing wide receiver Michael Crabtree and signing Jordy Nelson to be a threat as a No. 2 wide receiver.
When asked about Cooper’s status Friday, general manager Reggie McKenzie declined to get into specifics.
“Going into the draft now, that’s what we’re focused on, but we’ve been in contact with his agent,” I don’t want to put the cart before the horse, so to speak. But we like Amari.”
If Cooper were to play under a fifth-year option in 2019, he would make approximately $13.9 million. More likely, as the Raiders are attempting to do with defensive end Khalil Mack, Cooper would be signed to a contract extension which would guarantee considerably more money but lower the number in terms of salary cap.
Cooper has 48 receptions for 680 yards last season, but did have a career-high seven touchdowns. He compiled a good portion of his numbers in a Week 7 win over Kansas City in which caught 11 passes for 210 yards.
As a rookie and the No. 4 overall pick in the draft out of Alabama, Cooper had 72 receptions for 1,070 yards and six touchdowns and was a Pro Bowl selection. He followed that up with 83 catches for 1,153 yards and became only the third player to have 1,000 yards receiving in each of his first two seasons.
While productive, Cooper has had periods diminished production and too many dropped passes. Still, he has far outperformed virtually every wide receiver taken in the draft since 2015.