If we could venture behind the scenes and hear Owner Jerry Jones logic 101 on the cornerback situation, I’m sure it sounds something like this…”I now have two high-profile, expensive starting corners. And I have to pay Scandrick a pretty penny over his worth because of that dang contract I did . It’s overkill paying all this money to so many corners. I can dump Jenkin’s $1.67 million cap hit of next season and save me some Jerry bucks. Heck, Mike Jenkins won’t even be with us in 2013. I need to try to get something in return for him before he’s gone and leaves me empty-handed”. And as usual these types of thoughts reflect nothing more than the naïve, owner mentality Dallas fans have become accustomed to with JJ.
- Jenkins Trade Value Will Not Match His Worth
Mike Jenkins was a college All-American drafted in the first round in 2008. After winning the starting position over Scandrick in the third game of 2009, he’s been the starter ever since. Mike’s also a Pro-Bowler, a solid starting corner in this league, and in the early portion of his career. Market value is not determined by where you rank on the depth chart of your current team.
If he were to hit the free agency open market next off-season as scheduled, there is no doubt the market value would be somewhere near Brandon Carr’s demands this current off-season, if not just below. The only possible way Mike Jenkins is worth trading now is if Dallas can get an immediate starting caliber player at a position of need in return, or a first-round draft pick in 2013. Basically something in return that guarantees a starting caliber player. And no team is going to pay that price. At least not at the moment before camp injuries occur.
Secondly, Jenkins is still very valuable to the Dallas Cowboys next season. He will play much more than assumed, it seems like Dallas couldn’t get Alan Ball off the field last year. And Mike will provide the defense an ‘x’ factor against multiple passing attacks in a division that boasts some of the most dangerous and deep wide receiver groups in the league. Dallas finally can lineup toe to toe with any elite receiving corps and say ‘bring it on’ with confidence and a real reason to have swagger. This new group in Dallas is a far cry from the Alan Ball / Frank Walker show.
- Insurance Against Injury is a Huge Asset
Most importantly and being greatly overlooked by Jones, Jenkins brings security over injury to any starting cornerback. Did most people already forget a player named Prince Amukamara? There hasn’t been much to read about him since the 2011 NFL Draft I assume. Which is when he was selected 19th overall by the Giants as one of the top promising young cornerbacks entering the league. Prince broke his foot a day after signing with the Giants and missed the first nine games of last season. By then the starting cornerbacks were already in place and he contributed with 14 total tackles on the season. In this league unforeseen injuries happen all the time. The Cowboys roster was littered with them in 2011, even in the secondary.
So why would Jerry want to trade Jenkins away so abruptly in spite of this new insurance policy? God forbid, what happens if Morris Claiborne had the same bad luck as Amukamara? Then the secondary is left with Brandon Carr and Orlando Scandrick starting at corner. Who starts in the slot? Who’s the 4th corner matching up in 4-WR sets? Jenkins, Ball, and Walker would be nowhere on this roster to help like last year. If Dallas found themselves in that quandary against the deep, potent passing attacks of the NFC East…the season would be over before it starts. NFC East QB’s would light up the Cowboys secondary again like Cheech and Chong at Woodstock.
- Jenkins is Relatively Inexpensive
Mike Jenkins is not costing Dallas an arm and a leg to keep by any stretch. He’s by far the least expensive of all four major cornerbacks. In fact his cap hit of $1.67 mil this year is only slightly higher than Alan Ball’s $1.2 mil of 2011. The #4 CB (Jenkins) now and the #4 CB (Ball) last year basically have/had one-year contracts. Jenkins is in the last year of his contract and Ball was on a one-year deal in 2011.
There’s not a competent GM in the league that would shun spending < $500k more to upgrade his #4 CB to light-years ahead of last year. And as a bonus this upgrade would also provide legitimate insurance against injury for starters. That’s basically what he’s doing if he trades Jenkins, saving a few bucks that are relatively insignificant in perspective. Sure Dallas would acquire a draft pick next year (probably 3rd round or later), but for once in Dallas the brass needs to start maximizing the present team and stop playing the ‘next year’ game. After all, they used to win Super Bowls in Big D back when GM Jones played to win NOW.
DALLAS NEEDS MIKE JENKINS IN 2012
Suffice to say Mike’s benefits to the defense in 2012 far outweigh his financial cost. Dallas will not receive a starting player of his quality in return this year. And in my book even a second round draft pick in 2013 is less value than the benefits he can currently provide this defense.
With the bold selection of Morris Claiborne, GM Jerry Jones has created an excitingly dangerous secondary for 2012, and real WR match-up concerns for any possible opponent. And he has yet to even see what Rob Ryan can conjure up with this type luxury on the corners. These advantages finally make the Cowboys highly competitive for the playoffs THIS YEAR.
Is it really time for Owner Jerry Jones to save a few bucks and likely accept what he will unjustly classify as equal value for Jenkins? Is it okay to toss the current intimidating CB depth and insurance against injuries by the wayside? The answer is a resounding NO. Just when we thought GM Jerry had finally made strides, Owner Jones immediately went to work trying to foil a very solid secondary plan. ‘You can never have enough corners in this league’…we’ve all heard many coaches and Jerry Jones himself preach it time and again. Now he has the perfect chance to practice his football-speak and truly help his football team compete in its upgraded, dangerous division. Here’s hoping the owner doesn’t foolishly tarnish the secondary masterpiece that the General Manger wisely created.