The Dallas Cowboys re-signed guard Jonathan Cooper for the 2017 season after adding him for their playoff run in 2016. Cooper was originally a first round (seventh overall) draft pick by the Arizona Cardinals in 2013, but missed his rookie season after suffering a broken leg in a preseason game. He returned to start 11-of-24 games for an Arizona offense that ranked ninth in total yards from 2014-15. He was traded to New England in the 2016 offseason, but was waived by the team in October without appearing in any games. He then signed with Cleveland where he started three of the five games he played with the Browns. Cleveland released Cooper before the final regular season game, and he signed with Dallas for the 2016 playoffs but was inactive for the game against Green Bay. Cooper has played in a total of 29 games in his career, starting 14, at the guard position. An extremely athletic lineman with a background in wrestling, Cooper has all the physical tools to be a solid contributor on one of the stron- gest position groups on the Cowboys roster. He will have a chance to earn a starting job after the departure of several offensive line contributors in the offseason.
2016 (Arizona/New England/Cleveland/Dallas):
Acquired by New England, along with a 2016 second round draft selection (61st overall), from Arizona in a trade in exchange for defensive end Chandler Jones on March 15. Went to camp with the Patriots and began the season with the team, but was inactive for all four games being released (10/8).
Was picked up by Cleveland (10/10) and appeared in five games with three starts prior to his release after the Week 16 game against San Diego (12/24).
Signed with Dallas (1/4/17) after the regular season finale for its playoff run but was inactive for the Divisional Playoff Game against Green Bay (1/15/17).
Appeared in 14 regular season games with nine starts at right guard and was inactive against Cincinnati (11/22) and at San Francisco (11/29) due to injury.
Started the first nine games of the season at right guard and was utilized as a reserve upon return from injury.
Appeared in 10 regular season games with two starts at left guard.
Was active but did not play for four games and was inactive due to injury against Seattle (12/21), at San Fran- cisco and in the Wild Card game at Carolina (1/3/15).
Made his first career start at left guard against Kansas City (12/7) and helped the Cardinals rush for 141 yards.
Started for the second straight week at St. Louis (12/11) as the Cardinals allowed only one sack and ran for a season-high 143 yards.
Became the first guard taken in the top-eight (seventh overall) of the NFL Draft since 1982 when Arizona select- ed him and earned a starting spot at left guard as a rookie during training camp.
Suffered a broken leg in a preseason game and was placed on Injured Reserve on Aug. 30.
Started a school-record 48 games for the Tar Heels at left guard and finished his collegiate career as one of the most highly decorated linemen in UNC history. Was a three-time All-ACC selection and earned first-team All-America honors as a senior, when he was also named the recipient of the 2012 Jacobs Blocking Trophy as the best lineman in the ACC.
As a senior in 2012, started all 12 games and became UNC’s first consensus All-American first-team selection since Julius Peppers received the honor in 2002. Was one-of-three finalists for the Outland Trophy as the nation’s top interior lineman.
Started all 13 games again as a junior in 2011 and earned second-team All-ACC honors for the second consec- utive year.
Started all 13 games as a sophomore in 2010 and earned second-team All-ACC honors.
Started all 10 games as a redshirt freshman in 2009 and was named to the All-ACC freshman team by the Sporting News.
Attended John T. Hoggard High School in Wilmington, N.C., where he earned all-state honors as he helped lead the team to a perfect 16-0 record and the state Class 4-A Championship as a senior.
Achieved the rare feat of being voted Conference Player of the Year in 2007 as an offensive lineman.
Was also a standout heavyweight wrestler.
Earned a degree in communications from North Carolina and was the recipient of a 2013 ACC Postgraduate Honorary Scholarship after spending every semester on the dean’s list.