It all started when Dallas Cowboys’ cornerback Mike Jenkins allegedly demanded a trade prior to the start of this season. In the final year of his rookie contract, and with the addition of corners Brandon Carr in free agency and Morris Claiborne via the NFL Draft, Jenkins figured his days as a starting corner with Dallas were numbered and he apparently wanted out. Despite his request, Jenkins returned this year from off-season shoulder surgery in stellar form. But is his recent lack of playing time an indication that the Cowboys’ front office may actually be shopping him?
In Week Three of the NFL season, Jenkins played a total of 31 defensive snaps against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. The following week against the Chicago Bears, he played just 15. After the bye week, against the Baltimore Ravens, six. Last weekend against the Carolina Panthers, Jenkins played one single snap. This is very reminiscent of how the Cowboys treated all-pro guard Andre Gurode before releasing him last year.
Dallas is already pretty thin in the defensive backfield, losing safety Barry Church to a season ending injury earlier this year. Combine that with the inconstant play of veteran corner Orlando Scandrick and trading a pro bowler like Jenkins is almost inconceivable. But the former first round pick is most assuredly gone at season’s end. So shouldn’t the Cowboys at least try to get something for him?
If Dallas did make a trade, which position should they trade for? The Cowboys have a need at safety and inside linebacker due to the injuries to Church and Sean Lee respectively. The recent addition of linebacker Ernie Sims seems to negate the latter from happening. An established pass rushing defensive end could be an asset as well. But the biggest need would become the defensive backfield with Jenkins gone. A trade for another corner, while not out of the realm of possibility, is highly unlikely. Any team needing cornerback depth wouldn’t trade what they already have to get it.
One of the most glaring areas of weakness for the Cowboys is their offensive line. But bringing in another player onto a line whose biggest issue is chemistry seems a bit counter-intuitive at the mid-season point.
The Cowboys’ inconsistent play at wide receiver could also be addressed, although big names like Kansas City’s Dwayne Bowe or New England’s Wes Welker would be too price heavy for Dallas’ ailing salary cap. Players like Green Bay’s James Jones or Arizona’s Early Doucet could be nice additions to the receiver core. Heck, if we are tossing out names, how about getting Laurent Robinson back? He had 54 receptions for 858 yards and 11 touchdowns after starting in Week Three last season for Dallas. Robinson’s got a total of nine receptions for Jacksonville so far this season.
If the Cowboys have decided to build for the future, draft picks are always a nice trade option. But a player like Jenkins, who many may consider to be damaged goods because of his injury history, probably would not garner anything higher than a fourth round pick. You’ll never get equal trade value for a player like him. But something would be better than nothing at all. (see Tashard Choice)
So here’s the thousand dollar question: Should Dallas trade Mike Jenkins? If they are not going to play him, and they are not going to resign him, why not? What do you think? Answer the poll question below and leave your thoughts in the comments section.