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.
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. https://t.co/zCu8VakkJI
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.