The Oakland Raiders signed former Washington Redskins guard Jonathan Cooper to the team’s roster on Monday afternoon. Cooper will join the Raiders just ahead of training camp.
Last season, the Washington Redskins had a lot of trouble at the guard position. They cycled through quite a few starters due to injuries last year, and at one point last year, they inked Jonathan Cooper to a deal.
Cooper, the former No. 7 overall pick by the Arizona Cardinals, came in and did a solid job with the Redskins. He started right away after signing and for a month, he was able to hold his own as a starter at left guard before suffering a season-ending injury. Still, his performance was a pleasant surprise given that he had been waiting for a deal since his contract with the Dallas Cowboys came to an end. And as a result of that, some advocated that the Redskins should attempt to re-sign him this offseason.
However, the ‘Skins elected to go in a different direction in 2019. The team signed Ereck Flowers with the intent of moving him to guard and then spent a fourth-round pick on Wes Martin. Those two are expected to battle for the starting job, so while adding Cooper would have been good for depth, the team didn’t really need him, especially if they view Martin as a long-term answer at the position.
And now, the Redskins won’t have a chance to sign Cooper. NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport is reporting that the Oakland Raiders have agreed to a deal with Cooper. He will join the team to provide depth on the offensive line.
This move makes a lot of sense for the Raiders. The team took a risk on Richie Incognito and while he could be a solid replacement for Kelechi Osemele at left guard, he is suspended for two games and has been a loose cannon during his NFL career.
Cooper will have a chance to battle Denzelle Good for the starting job in place of Incognito and at the least, he will provide quality depth. Getting him at this point in the offseason is a solid deal as he has proven to be a good starter when healthy in the past couple of years.
Though it would have been nice for the Redskins to hold onto Cooper or have him on the market in case of an injury, it simply didn’t happen. The team opted to go in a different direction, which certainly makes sense given the hole they have had at the left guard position for the past five years.