Jaguars Free Agent Target- Stephen Cooper

A new collective bargaining agreement and thus the beginning of NFL free agency is in the works. We've already previewed the Jaguars position by position and we are going to explore some of the players who will be available to them via free agency. Find out how likely Jacksonville is to sign veteran linebacker Stephen Cooper.

There are much sexier names in free agency than Stephen Cooper. There are probably four or five more talented football players at his position. Cooper has only had two seasons of better than 100 tackles, less than 10 career sacks and just eight interceptions, so why would he be a legitimate target for the Jaguars?

With a linebacking corps which routinely missed tackles and was out of position, Cooper may not be an impact player any longer but he's extremely smart at diagnosing plays and he won't hurt a team by being on the football field. With a head coach who's a former linebacker, a player like Cooper may be just what the doctor ordered for the Jaguars.

To find out more about Cooper, we asked SD Bolt publisher Michael Lombardo who has covered the San Diego Chargers for much of Stephen Cooper's eight seasons. Here's what Lombardo had to say--

Stephen Cooper is past his prime and has balky knees. Working in his favor, though, is the fact he's one of the smartest defenders in the NFL. He is the reason the Chargers own the Colts every year -- he matches Peyton Manning check for check and consistently outwits No. 18, which would come in handy in the AFC South. Cooper is still an active defender and high-volume tackler, but his athleticism is declining and he won't make game-changing plays. Also, one more run-in with steroids will result in a one-year ban.

Stephen Cooper's agent won't be the first phone call that Jaguars general manager Gene Smith calls, but Cooper can step in right away and start for the Jags and upgrade their linebacking corps.

Charlie Bernstein is the host of "The Sports Crunch" on the Aquarius 7 Broadcasting Network (national), and Editor-in-Chief of Sports Media Interactive, covering multiple teams in the National Football League, NCAA, and National Basketball Association. Charlie covers the Jacksonville Jaguars for FoxSports and has been featured on the NFL Network and Sirius NFL Radio. Charlie is also a member of the Pro Football Writers of America. You can follow Charlie on Twitter @nflcharlie

Jags Illustrated Top Stories