Jason Garrett views Cooper trade as safer than a first-round pick

Cowboys head coach Jason Garrett looks on from the sidelines against the Washington Redskins in the second quarter at FedEx Field.Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

Cowboys coach reviewed swap, thought process at the end of Washington loss.

The Cowboys are off this week, but their move to acquire Amari Cooper from the Oakland Raiders for a 2019 first-round draft pick meant that Dallas coach Jason Garrett answered questions in what amounted to a double press conference.

Garrett both gave the post mortem of the Cowboys’ 20-17 loss to the Redskins on Sunday and described the organization’s thought process in trading for Cooper.

Dallas appeared to have the Washington defense on its heels late in the fourth quarter. The Cowboys had a first down at the Redskins’ 46 and a timeout remaining with 52 seconds still on the clock. Quarterback Dak Prescott hit wide receiver Cole Beasley for nine yards to the 37 and then for 6 more to the 31.

But with 12 seconds remaining, Dallas handed off to Ezekiel Elliott in the middle of the field for a gain of 2 and used its last timeout with 3 seconds left.

After Cowboys deep snapper L.P. Ladouceur was flagged for a snap infraction, kicker Brett Maher’s 52-yard field goal attempt hit the left upright and fell away as time expired. That sent Dallas to 0-4 on the road this season.

Media covering the team wanted to know why the Cowboys didn’t take a shot at the end zone late in the game.

“I thought those guys handled it really well,” Garrett said. “Those were big completions that we had to get us in a very manageable field goal situation.”

With the loss to Washington, the trade for Cooper on Monday seemed like Dallas desperately trying to land a top-shelf wide receiver.

However, Garrett characterized it as a long-term move for the team. He said Cooper is a safer bet than even a first-round draft pick and went as far as calling the wide receiver a potential “cornerstone player.”

“We just feel like he’s a really good player,” Garrett said. “He was a top-five pick coming out of Alabama a few years ago, had a great career there. By all accounts from everybody we know at Alabama, he’s one of the best players they’ve had there, one of the best people they’ve had there. He goes to Oakland and has been very productive early on in his career.”