Stephen Cooper chose the wrong time to explore NFL free agency, as he was one of several quality linebackers available for the last few weeks for teams in need of an upgrade. In fact, Cooper wasn’t even the only member of his team trying to cash in with Kevin Burnett and Brandon Siler both available as well.
Siler landed with the Chiefs and Burnett found his home in South Florida, but Cooper has decided that home is where the heart is. He re-upped with SD for a one-year deal that should work well for both teams.
The Chargers have invested heavily in young linebackers the last two drafts with Jonas Mouton and Donald Butler both chosen in the top three rounds. Cooper is ideal to mentor them before turning them completely loose in 2012 (or even later this year). For Cooper, he gets to re-enter the FA market in a year where it won’t be nearly as crowded.
It’s a solid signing by A.J. Smith to help cement the defense.