FRISCO (105.3 THE FAN) – A Dallas Cowboys source has confirmed our Wednesday morning report on the planned signing of former first-round guard Jonathan Cooper, who will be added to the active roster for the playoffs.
Cooper was the seventh overall pick in 2013 by Arizona and was eventually traded to the Patriots, who released him in October. He was picked up by the Browns and was a part-time starter there before being released.
The 6-foot-2, 310-pound Cooper was a Cowboys favorite in his draft year and in part due to his athleticism was considered a blue-chip prospect across the NFL. He’s started 14 of his 29 career games but injuries have limited the North Carolina product.
The acquisition of Cooper is not related to the Cowboys’ plan are looking to recall guard La’el Collins from injured reserve; room can be made for Cooper via either the release of recent practice-squad call-up Ryan Seymour or via an NFL decision to suspend Randy Gregory.
But this move can also be about next year. Guard Ron Leary is likely to leave via free agency. (He wants to be a starter and knows Dallas wants to eventually give the left guard job back to Collins. Additionally, Dallas is earmarking its O-line money now for All-Pro right guard Zack Martin, hoping to lock him into a long-term extension this summer.
Cooper, still just 26, becomes the backup to both guard spots — assuming he remains in Dallas beyond this reported playoffs-only contract and performs at a level at all close to what he was once projected to be.
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