Yesterday, while I was doing my thing in Detroit, we learned that Cowboys CB Mike Jenkins is staying home for OTAs. He wants to be traded, I was told, and is still weighing what to do for mandatory mini-camp. Cowboys coach Jason Garrett wants him in town, Jenkins isn’t having it.
A few things on this…
First, in my opinion, Jenkins is absolutely doing the right thing. His only leverage is to sit out, sit home, and stay away from OTAs that are, by the way, voluntary.
Jenkins wants to be traded, and he wants a new deal. The Cowboys want him to play for cheap (in the last year of his rookie contract), serve as a security blanket, and then watch him walk for a compensatory pick in the 2014 draft. So, that’s the issue. I’ve also heard on Dallas radio today that Jenkins should show up, compete for his job and show his toughness.
To which I respond… huh?
Didn’t he prove that last year playing with a bum shoulder without long-term security? Does he really need to prove something to the team that has already tried to deal him? The Cowboys had every right to draft Morris Claiborne, sign Brandon Carr, and effectively replace him. They didn’t think of Jenkins’ feelings when they did it. They made him the fourth corner. This is a business. So, Jenkins has recourse.
Jenkins can stay home and force their hand. Or, try to. That’s his right. Missing mandatory mini-camp is a different story, but he can do that, too, and get fined. If he gets a new contract from someone by forcing a trade, he’ll make up for it. And I gotta say, I love the suggestion that Jenkins should show up and compete. Makes me laugh.
What team wouldn’t love to have hungry players show up, play for a bargain price and compete for a job? That’s value. What player who has proven himself would want to do that, especially if he has the choice? Let’s say, for the sake of argument, Jenkins shows up, competes, and injures himself. What good did it do him?
He’ll never make up for the money he lost in a possible long-term deal. It would be doing a disservice to his family and those close to him to show up and put himself at risk. He’s already shown injuries can be an issue.
Nevermind that the deck is already stacked against him with this competing thing. Draft Claiborne, sign Carr, have Orlando Scandrick for starter money… hmmmmm. Is that a fair fight? No way. Think Jenkins will really get a chance to be the starter? That’s why Jenkins’ best move is to try to force a trade or make the Cowboys suck it up with him sitting him. Oh by the way, even a sixth-rounder for the 2013 draft is better than possibly a fifth rounder for 2014 like would come if the Cowboys received a compensatory pick for him.
So, who would trade for him?
Let’s assume he’ll be healthy for the season, and doctors prove it. (If Jenkins isn’t healthy, none of this means anything.) How many teams would want a proven corner who can cover for a not-so-crazy price of, say, a fifth or a sixth rounder? I bet a bunch.
I have a suggestion. Look at the Lions.
They have issues at cornerback they didn’t address this offseason. Coach Jim Schwartz said his team is comfortable with his group, but what’s he supposed to say? Playing in a division with the Packers and Bears, they need to cover. Badly. And why Jenkins?
Well… in the 2008 draft, I’m told the Lions looked at four players to select at No. 17. BC OT Gosder Cherilus was one, and they picked him. The other three? Pittsburgh OT Jeff Otah (19th), South Florida CB Mike Jenkins (25th), and Arizona CB Antoine Cason (27th). And the Lions have a fifth rounder and everything.
Think the Lions are thinking long and hard about adding a player they wanted four years ago? I bet they are. Now, I think, is when the price will be at its lowest, which is good for the buyer. The closer we get to training camp, the more likely it is a team is willing to pay more to add Jenkins.
So, the clock ticks..