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49ers sign Jonathan Cooper to compete for starting guard job

The 49ers have questions at both guard positions and the newest addition will get a crack at the starting lineup.

The San Francisco 49ers announced on Tuesday that they have signed guard Jonathan Cooper to a one year contract. General manager John Lynch said the organization looks forward to Cooper competing for a starting job.

“Having started 27 games in four NFL seasons, Jonathan brings great experience to the interior of our offensive line,” said General Manager John Lynch. “We look forward to him competing for a starting job at guard, while also bringing a veteran presence to our locker room. Jonathan is a welcome addition to our team.”

The 49ers mark the fifth team for the one-time first round pick. Cooper was a 2013 first round pick of the Arizona Cardinals. After the 2015 season, he was traded to the New England Patriots as part of a package for defensive end Chandler Jones. He was released after four weeks in the 2016 season, and claimed by the Cleveland Browns. He appeared in five games with Cleveland before they too released him.

Cooper signed with the Dallas Cowboys in January 2017 to serve as playoff depth. After the season, he signed a one-year deal with Dallas, and started 13 games at left guard this past season. He suffered a sprained MCL late in the season and had surgery in January.

The 49ers currently have Laken Tomlinson and Joshua Garnett as the closest we can come to labeling two players as the starting guards. In reality, it’s a wide open competition, with Cooper now in the mix, along with Erik Magnuson and others. The 49ers could invest a high 2018 draft pick in a guard, but until then, both positions are wide open.