When the New England Patriots traded Pro Bowl defensive end Chandler Jones to the Arizona Cardinals, guard Jonathan Cooper was an integral piece of the transaction. The former top-10 draft pick brought a lot of upside and thus the potential to earn a starting role to Foxboro.
However, after running with the first-team offensive line early in the offseason, Cooper suffered a foot injury that forced him to miss the majority of training camp as well as the first four weeks of the season. Prior to the fifth, New England opted to let Cooper go to create room for defensive tackle Woodrow Hamilton.
Due to his release, the 26-year old was exposed to the waiver wire – and the Patriots lost him there according to the Boston Globe’s Jim McBride:
#Browns have claimed G Jonathan Cooper off waivers from #Patriots
The fact that the Patriots will not be able to bring Cooper back all but guarantees that the team, barring injury or – less likely – a trade prior to the deadline, rolls along with the three top options currently on the roster: Joe Thuney as the starter on the left, Shaq Mason on the right and Ted Karras as the top swing backup option. The Patriots also have Chris Barker and Chase Farris on the practice squad.
Cooper getting claimed by the Browns does not only have an effect on New England’s roster management but its cap as well. Per patscap.com’s Miguel Benzan, the team’s cap number increases by $476,471 due to the fact that the Patriots only had to pay Cooper for five weeks. The veteran’s $1.7 million roster bonus is still on New England’s books, though, as it has already been paid in training camp.