2017 was a tale of two seasons for cornerback Marcus Cooper. He started the first four games of the year for the Chicago Bears, picking up 12 tackles and 3 passes defended, but then a back injury caused him to be inactive for their fifth game. He appeared in the final ten games of the year, but only in a reserve role, and he only made three more tackles. His special teams usage increased in the final ten games, and he ended up making three tackles in the third phase.
Cooper’s season really took a drastic turn in the week three match-up against the Pittsburgh Steelers. That was the game where he scooped up blocked field goal and instead of running through the goal line he inexplicably slowed up just before scoring. He was then stripped by a hustling Steeler before scoring what should have been an easy touchdown.
Three of his five penalties came after week 12, and when he did get on the field for some defensive reps, he looked like a shell of the player the Bears signed to a three-year, $16 million contract one year ago.
The Bears released Cooper on March 14, saving $4.5 million on their 2018 cap, but SiriusXM’s Adam Caplan is reporting that the Bears are planning to re-sign Cooper to a one-year deal worth up to $2.5 million.
The Bears seemingly are set at their starting corners with Kyle Fuller and Prince Amukamara also both re-signing, but both for significantly more money that Cooper received.
The Bears also re-upped with special teams captain and occasional defensive back Sherrick McManis.
Chicago has an original round tender on restricted free agent Bryce Callahan, and if he makes it back he’s likely the starting nickleback.
Other corners on the current roster are Cre’Von LeBlanc, Jonathon Mincy, and Doran Grant, but none of them have the length of the 6’2” Cooper.
This report came out of nowhere, but the defensive coaching staff must believe the 28-year old Cooper still has some upside.