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Rivera: Redskins chased Cooper 'up to the very end'

The Washington Redskins aren't reaching for the tissue box over it, but they'll admit it: They wanted Amari Cooper badly.

Redskins coach Ron Rivera said as much Tuesday in a conference call with reporters.

"Amari was someone that we chased very hard all the way up to the very end," Rivera said. "He decided to return to Dallas. We were in it and we were talking about the substantial money. But at the end of the day, he made a decision he felt was best for him and we respect it."

Washington has a significant need at receiver, with Terry McLaurin existing as the only legitimate threat. The Redskins' push for Cooper was twofold: It would address the No. 1 receiver void, and it would steal a weapon from a division rival. That combination was worth "substantial" money. When Cooper decided to stay in Dallas -- to the tune of five years and $100 million -- the Redskins were left only to regroup, eventually signing Cody Latimer and leaving empty the No. 1 role.

"That's a tough one," Rivera said. "We would've loved to have him as part of what we're trying to do. We believe he would've been a great veteran presence in the room, especially for those young guys that played last year and had success with this football team. We would've felt good about having a veteran guy like that who's had success in this league as part of what you're trying to do."

It wasn't a very strong free-agent class at the position, but this month's draft is deep at the position. Washington could snag a difference-maker in the third round or later (if they select Ohio State defensive end Chase Young in the first round with the No. 2 overall pick) to pair with McLaurin and give young quarterback Dwayne Haskins options in the passing game.

Still, when the Redskins face off with Dallas twice per season, they'll have to see No. 19 lining up across from them, left only to wonder what might have happened if he'd instead taken their offer to move to the nation's capital.

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