Jonathan Cooper has progressed to the point he’s working with the 49ers’ second-team guards in training camp, Matt Barrows of The Athletic writes. Although Cooper played in Week 17 last season, he underwent offseason knee surgery, so it’s a good sign for his progress.
Cooper is now in the hunt for a starting role opposite of Joshua Garnett, who also recently returned to practice after he was sidelined by a knee injury. Neither guard played last week in San Francisco’s preseason opener, but now that they are back in the saddle, it doesn’t sound like the Niners will be forced to look for outside help.
Here’s more from the NFC West:
- Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll says a personal issue with Marcus Smith was a factor in his release. (Twitter link via ESPN.com’s Brady Henderson). Carroll added that Smith understood the decision, which suggests that the defensive end did not ask for his release. The Seahawks will save roughly $1MM against the cap by cutting Smith, though they have spent an equal amount to bring in linebacker Erik Walden.
- The 49ers don’t have a traditional No. 1 wide receiver after bypassing Sammy Watkins and Allen Robinson in free agency and, thus far, have avoided Dez Bryant. Kyle Shanahan is confident enough in his offensive scheme that he doesn’t believe it requires a WR1-type talent for it to be effective, and that’s why Matt Miller of Bleacher Report doesn’t see San Francisco taking a wide receiver in the 2019 draft. Of course, it’s incredibly early in the process, and Pierre Garcon’s reliability in his age-32 season will surely factor into the 49ers’ offseason decisions on the receiver front.
- We’ve heard that the Rams and Aaron Donald are making progress on a new deal, but head coach Sean McVay pumped the breaks such talk this week.