Behind Enemy Lines: Amari Cooper or Byron Jones?

With NFL Free Agency about to kick off this week, all eyes will be on the Philadelphia Eagles who are expected to make some noise. It won’t necessarily be a complete re haul for the birds but many expect them to retool their roster at the least, bringing in some new faces and letting old ones leave.

Ironically enough, the names linked to the Eagles the most have been two Dallas players in the form of Amari Cooper and Byron Jones. This wouldn’t be the first time marquee players switched between these two rivals. But with both expected to be paid top dollar, Philadelphia will have to decide which one suits them better. Amari Cooper or Byron Jones?

Amari Cooper
Age: 25yrs old
Resume: 4x Pro Bowl – 5,097 receiving yards
Cost: Around $20mil/yr

Amari Cooper and the Eagles would make a lot of sense. Before Cooper was traded to Dallas in 2018, Philadelphia showed their interest in the young receiver, offering Oakland a 2nd round pick. Of course Dallas and their 1st round offer ended up taking the crown but Philadelphia’s recent interest is something to note.

Talent and production isn’t a question when it comes to Cooper. The Alabama product has been named to the Pro Bowl 4/5 seasons since entering the league and PFF rated him the 9th best receiver in the league last season.

What may sway the Eagles away from paying Cooper top dollar is the suspected historic draft class at the WR position this year. Although it’s a shot in the dark compared to signing a sure thing, Philadelphia may be tempted in preserving their financial flexibility at the position.

Byron Jones
Age: 27yrs old
Resume: 1x Pro Bowl 
Cost: Around $18mil/yr 

Just like the Eagles receiving core, the current state of their secondary is iffy at best. It’s been quite a long time since a Philadelphia defensive back was considered “lock-down” and although Jones isn’t the most popular name in the league, he performs at a high level.

Speaking from a scheme fit, Byron would fit in very nicely with Philadelphia. He’s a sure tackler and excels in man coverage. His elite athleticism should allow him to age gracefully, making a transition to Safety down the road pretty much painless.

What’s difficult with Jones is that you will most likely have to overpay for him. His free agency timing will net him top 5 money at his position even though his talent level is more along the 10-15 range in the league.