With the signing of free agent guard Mike Iupati, who plays left guard, Jonathan Cooper was suddenly a man without a position. But while some of us like to read into moves like this, general manager Steve Keim doesn't want us to. He still believes in Cooper, even though he will be moving over to right guard.
The move to right guard "is no reflection on Coop in terms of disappointment or anything like that," Keim said (via AZCardinals.com). "I'm still as high on Coop as ever, knowing he still has a chip on his shoulder and knowing he wants to prove people wrong. To me, it's about strengthening an area that's been a weakness for years."
"I think when I reflect and I look back on what he brings to the table, it just made so much sense to continue to add size and strength to your offensive line," Keim said. "I felt like we needed to change the mindset a little bit particularly when you get into third-and-short, or second-and-short."
That's why the team added Iupati. It wasn't about Cooper, per se. It was about adding a great lineman who would make the line tougher.
At the same time, while the team is saying it's not disappointed in Cooper, the move does say something -- they feel Iupati is the better option. That doesn't mean Cooper won't turn out to be fantastic at right guard, but it does mean they would rather have Iupati at left guard than Cooper.
The key now is health. Cooper has broken a leg, had turf toe, and broke his wrist. He has to stay healthy to be effective and he hasn't shown he can yet.
Keim is saying he's not disappointed in Cooper, but was he really going to say anything else? Cooper is his first draft pick as general manager. To give up on him now would be to admit he failed with his first pick.
Keim said he was pleased overall with his work in free agency. The team will now be "patient/aggressive" the rest of the way and will add a player if the numbers make sense.