In theory, the Cowboys have the right idea in holding onto CB Mike Jenkins…

Cowboys CB Mike Jenkins in action last year/AP

As soon as the Cowboys drafted CB Morris Claiborne, the status of starting CB Mike Jenkins was in doubt. In the final year of his contract, wanting a new pay day, Jenkins was trade bait. And the team did try to trade him.

That was two weeks ago. Offers were slim, and any hope of the Cowboys receiving back the second-rounder they gave up to get Claiborne was wishful thinking. Some thought they could get a fourth-rounder for Jenkins, but even that didn’t happen. Dallas officials lamented how teams simply wanted to go with their picks, rather than trade for a proven corner.

What now?

At the Cowboys annual golf tournament, owner Jerry Jones said yesterday that team now considers Jenkins “vital. As in, they aren’t trading him. Oh, and VP Stephen Jones said they’d like Jenkins in Valley Ranch with his teammates during voluntary conditioning, even though he’s rehabbing his shoulder injury. Ah, the plot thickens.

Well, I’m told there is nothing new going on with Jenkins. He isn’t in Valley Ranch today, and it doesn’t sound like he has plans to be. And his plans haven’t changed, despite what the team said.

It’s not hard to see that Jenkins wants to be traded so he can have a new deal. The Cowboys said they were open to him being in Dallas long-term, but they may not have the resources to pay him top dollar. Maybe if he has a so-so season — assuming he is a Cowboy in 2012 — they can get him cheap. But it sounds like he wants to be gone by the opener to receive big bucks.

In my view, the Cowboys are smart to hold onto him. First of all, they obviously can’t get more than chump change for him at this present time. They’d need to get more now than they would for keeping him a year and seeing him pay off in a compensatory pick down the road. That’s the only way a trade makes sense. Is that possible?

Well, it’s not now. But it may in the preseason.

The Cowboys, essentially, are keeping Jenkins as insurance. If one of their corners goes down with a bad injury, he steps in. If another team realizes they are in desperate need of corners, Jenkins could go there. Suddenly in August, with the season bearing down, his value increases. How many teams have proven, solid, cheap corners available? Not many.

That’s why it makes sense for the Cowboys to make like they are keeping him right now. They may. He could be their just-in-case guy. But he could also be great trade material before the season. Don’t think we’ve heard the last of this..

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