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Jonathan Cooper’s Injury is a Painful One for Cowboys

Mauricio Rodriguez



Sean's Scout: Cooper's Improvements at LG Sparks Cowboys Run Game

As the Dallas Cowboys played their last football game for the next eight months, they saw one of their starting offensive players go down in week 17. Jonathan Cooper was carried off the field with what seemed to be a serious knee injury, and this isn't the first time health has been an issue for Cooper.

He was drafted in the first round of the 2013 NFL Draft by the Arizona Cardinals only to be placed on Injured Reserve after suffering a preseason injury. His football career has been constantly bothered by injuries ever since.

Jonathan Cooper proved to be very valuable for the Cowboys. After parting ways with Ron Leary and Doug Free in the offseason, La'el Collins was kicked to the right tackle position, leaving the left guard spot completely open. Chaz Green got the nod to start the season and the entire OL struggled until he was replaced by Jonathan Cooper.

Believe it or not, Cooper -- a first-round pick who was never the impact player he was expected to be in the NFL -- helped the Dallas Cowboys a lot this year.

The Cowboys are a team with a lot of needs. They need to improve at a lot of positions on both sides of the ball before they can be considered a contender in 2018. One of those positions is offensive guard, and Jonathan Cooper's injury does nothing but increase that concern.

The Cowboys will have to make a decision regarding Cooper and the future of Dallas' LG position.

Personally, if he's healthy I wouldn't mind seeing #64 back in the starting lineup in 2018. He wouldn't have anything close to an expensive contract and Dallas could push the position down the needs list.

Todd Archer on Twitter

Left guard Jonathan Cooper is getting his left knee examined with 58 seconds to go. If he plays in 75 percent of the snaps this season, he earns an extra $500,000. He was at 80.8% entering the game.

According to ESPN's Todd Archer, Cooper had an incentive of $500,000 for playing in 75% of the snaps this season. Despite not finishing the game, I think it's safe to assume he'll get his fair share of extra money thanks to becoming the starter. According to Pro Football Reference, he participated in 44.1% of the snaps in the season finale and should easily average above 75% for the year.

Heading into an offseason filled with questions, the front office will have to decide between bringing in a new left guard and shuffling the offensive line for the second consecutive year, or sticking with Cooper despite whatever his injury turns out to be.

Would You Like to See Jonathan Cooper Back in 2018?

Tell me what you think about "Jonathan Cooper’s Injury is a Painful One for Cowboys" in the comments below, or tweet me @PepoR99 and let’s talk football! If you like football and are looking for a Dallas Cowboys show in Spanish, don’t miss my weekly Facebook Live! show, Primero Cowboys!

I love to write, I love football and I love the Dallas Cowboys. I've been rooting for America's team all the way from Mexico ever since I can remember. If you want to talk football, I'm in... You'll find me at @PepoR99.

  • dallas1966

    If Cooper can stay away from serious injury, Cooper would be a good fit in Dallas.

    If the knee is problematic, the Cowboys need to move on

    • Mauricio Rodriguez

      I definitely agree. Thank you for reading!

  • Emilio Gonzalez

    Yes I want him back hopefully he can fully recover from the the injury a good player and the Cowboys gave him a chance to play and he played good. Thanks

    • Mauricio Rodriguez

      Hopefully he’s here and healthy in 2018. Thank you for reading!


    I think we should move on from him and court/draft more offensive linemen. The continuation of OL rebuild is crucial. BTW, what part of Mexico are you from Mauricio? Happy New Year.

  • Gabriel Cerda

    Regardless if Cooper is back (which I hope he is) Dallas needs to look using one of their top picks on OL. Tyron’s health has also been an issue the last couple of years and getting a young tackle is necessary.

Player News

Despite Late Push as Rookie, Will Taco Charlton Struggle to See Field in 2018?

Sean Martin



Despite Late Push in Year One, Will Taco Charlton Struggle to See the Field in 2018? 1
(Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports)

It feels like ages ago that the Dallas Cowboys spent the 28th overall pick in the 2017 NFL Draft on Michigan Defensive End Taco Charlton. Perhaps this is a result of the constant distancing fans have made from this unpopular pick, or the corresponding moves the Cowboys have made at DE since drafting Charlton.

These moves include using the franchise tag on DeMarcus Lawrence after seeing him explode for 14.5 sacks, spending a fourth round pick this year on Kansas' Dorance Armstrong, and seeing Randy Gregory reinstated in time for training camp.

Across the entirety of the Cowboys roster, there will be plenty of "odd men out" that miss the cut down to 53 players. Defensive end remains one of the most cluttered spots on the current 90 man roster however.

Despite Late Push as Rookie, Will Taco Charlton Struggle to See Field in 2018?

Dallas Cowboys DE Taco Charlton, DT Maliek Collins (Tom Fox/The Dallas Morning News)

Prior to establishing the depth the Cowboys now have up front on defense, they did Taco no favors by starting his career at right defensive end. While Gregory may still be a long way from earning the starting role here, similarly styled players like Armstrong have the edge here over Charlton.

This relegates Charlton to the strong side, where he always projected best out of college. By the time the Cowboys realized this a season ago, they also knew a franchise pass rusher was playing his way into the team's long-term plans.

Lawrence's stellar consistency off the edge reduced Charlton's role in the Cowboys rotation of pass rushers. An ideal spot for the rookie to develop with less pressure on him, Charlton's opportunities to continue playing left end may only be reduced this season.

The first-round pick is capable of kicking inside at defensive tackle, a position the Cowboys could certainly use help at. However, asking Charlton to go through another position shift would only halt the progress that took quite a bit of patience from Dallas to see.

It's far from unheard of for the Cowboys to do this with their young players, but for now Charlton remains a defensive end looking to make his impact. The Cowboys are in much better position now than they were at this time a year ago when it comes to setting expectations for him to do so.

Given everything he showed on tape at Michigan as well as in his pre-draft interviews, Charlton is a player that needs to succeed at the task at hand. When this plan is altered, the 6'6" pass rusher is much less effective -- without even considering any athletic struggles that Charlton has compared to other prototypes at defensive end.

As a unit, the Cowboys defensive line has all the pieces to be very effective this season. Taco Charlton is a piece to this puzzle, a backup left end that must find a way to flourish in this role.

For most former 28th overall picks, doing so would be considered a fall from grace. For the Cowboys, it's simply an example of strong roster building that's forced life to come at Charlton quickly. How he responds with a full season under his belt will make or break the hype this deep Cowboys defensive line has garnered, lead of course by the starter at Charlton's position in DeMarcus Lawrence.

Tell us what you think about "Despite Late Push as Rookie, Will Taco Charlton Struggle to See Field in 2018?" in the comments below. You can also email me at, or Tweet to me at @SeanMartinNFL!

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Player News

Cowboys DE Randy Gregory Reinstated, Will Join Team for Training Camp

Sean Martin



Will the Dallas Cowboys "Get Lucky" at Defensive End?

The Dallas Cowboys patience with Defensive End Randy Gregory has paid off. Suspended for the better part of 2016 and all of 2017, Gregory has officially been reinstated to join the team for their 2018 training camp. The projected starter at RDE, Gregory will report to Oxnard with the rest of the team on July 25th.

From here, it will be all hard work for Gregory to reconnect with Defensive Coordinator Rod Marinelli and get his promising career back on track. The last time Gregory suited up for the Cowboys, he managed to sack Philadelphia Eagles Quarterback Carson Wentz in a week 17 win. The Cowboys will be expecting much more of this from a player they've supported through multiple violations of the league's heavily criticized substance abuse policy.

Ian Rapoport on Twitter

Cowboys pass-rusher Randy Gregory's petition for reinstatement was not opposed, according to lawyer Daniel Moskowitz. He's back. "I've never been more proud of any individual in my life. I'm very excited for Randy and his daughter and the rest of the his family.

Among this support staff for Gregory were a number of teammates that wrote formal letters to the NFL as part of his bid for reinstatement. These last few days of preparation before the Cowboys are together again as a team will surely be uplifted by Gregory's presence.

They say no news is typically good news at this point in the offseason, something the Cowboys have come to realize far too often. Today's news shouldn't be confused with a pleasant surprise however, rather something the Cowboys were committed to in getting another premier pass rusher on the field.

Here is the NFL's official press release on their reinstatement of Randy Gregory:

Sean Martin ✭ on Twitter

Sean Martin ✭ on Twitter

Tell us what you think about "Cowboys DE Randy Gregory Reinstated, Will Join Team for Training Camp" in the comments below. You can also email me at, or Tweet to me at @SeanMartinNFL!

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Player News

Cowboys & DeMarcus Lawrence Fail to Reach New Contract

Jess Haynie



Which 2018 Free Agents Will The Cowboys Retain? 1
Andrew Dieb/Icon Sportwire

DeMarcus Lawrence will definitely be a Cowboy in 2018, but now the future  beyond that remains in question. The Dallas Cowboys and their star defensive end did not agree to a long-term contract by today's deadline for franchise-tagged players.

According to NFL rules, teams had until 4:00 pm EST today to reach contract extensions with free agents who'd been assigned the franchise tag earlier this offseason. Players who did not get new deals will have to play the 2018 season on their one-year franchise tenders.

Jon Machota on Twitter

DeMarcus Lawrence and the Cowboys were unable to work out a long-term contract by today's deadline. Lawrence will play the 2018 season under a one-year franchise tag that will pay him $17.1 million

This does not mean Lawrence will be a free agent in 2019. The two parties can still discuss the contract in the months to come, but the deal cannot be made until after the end of the regular season.

Dallas also has the option of giving DeMarcus a second franchise tag next year. However, that would come at a considerably higher price for a second-straight season.

This year, Lawrence will still make plenty with one of the highest cap hits of any DE in the league. He earned the franchise tag last with 14.5 sacks in a breakout season.

Today's news may not really be a big deal in the long run. As long as Tank wants to stay in Dallas after this, the two sides now have over five months to keep talking and will hopefully agree on a new deal for 2019 and beyond.

There is risk on both sides, of course.

Lawrence's leverage could be less if his productions drops or he gets injured. On the other hand, his position could be even stronger with a second-straight year of strong play.

Now everyone, from the team to player to fans, is in wait-and-see mode until the end of the season.

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