Free agent Jonathan Cooper has been signed by the 49ers for one of the guard slots. This was revealed by general manager John Lynch while expressing great confidence in the new signing. However, it is not yet clear which spot Cooper is going to fill in the offensive line. There is an array of players who are competing for various positions available in the team. The Niners are more optimistic about the new guard compared to the last season. In 2017, there were no new drafts to the guard; and therefore no fresh blood was injected into the offensive campaign. However, several players were brought on board after the draft; including Tim Barnes and Brandon Fusco. With this revamping at the offensive guard, the 49ers odds for the next season could be higher.
According to the NFL Network, Cooper was signed in a contract worth $4.95 million with a bonus of $2 million. Keep in mind that this is a one-year deal. Cooper has done his time with other teams and in five seasons, this is his fourth team. With this in mind, this new Niners player has been recovering from an MCL surgery. He is set to join the team once he is in perfect shape. In 2017, Cooper was with the Cowboys in Dallas where he started 13 games at left guard. It was in the season finale that the injury occurred. Consequently, he had to take time off to recover and to go through the necessary treatment. Lynch expressed his satisfaction with the way Cooper played his last games in Dallas. This endorsement will go a long way to boost even better performance from the promising talent.
Other spots like the left guard will have to be filled by the right player. Previously, left guard Tomlison was the main man for the job after being acquired by the Niners to start 15 games. The right guard is also a critical need that must be filled. Joshua Garnett manned the spot in the last season but had to go out on injury following knee issues. He took time to work on his recovery and gaining the much needed form to fit into the zone-blocking system that was brought on board by head coach Kyle Shanahan. According to Lynch, Garnett is now fully back in practice and is ready to go.
The offensive-line competition does not end there; two more candidates are seeking to be fixed in the slots. They are Erik Magnuson who is a second year player and the seasoned Zane Beadles. The two men can do it all and no matter the allocation, they can fit naturally into the five slots. According to Lynch, Magnuson has played guard, center and right tackle; he is really versatile. In this case, could it be that the 49ers are not looking to draft a guard? There are rumors about Quenton Nelson of Notre Dame heading to San Francisco at pick No. 9. Lynch did not confirm this but stated that they are always open to acquiring new talented players to up their game.
The #49ers have announced that they have signed G Jonathan Cooper to a one year deal.
John Lynch: "Having started 27 games in four NFL seasons, Jonathan brings great experience to the interior of our offensive line. We look forward to him competing for a starting job at guard."
For what it's worth, #49ers guard Laken Tomlinson was @PFF's 32nd-ranked guard in 2017 and labeled 'average.' Jonathan Cooper was 35th and labeled 'below average.' The move adds depth, but the team should still be looking to upgrade the interior of the offensive line.