New Dallas Cowboys Cornerbacks Mean Nothing for Defense

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Sep 8, 2013; Arlington, TX, USA; Dallas Cowboys cornerback Brandon Carr (39) celebrates his fourth quarter touchdown with Morris Claiborne (24) against the New York Giants at AT

It wasn’t that long ago that Dallas Cowboys fans were clamoring for new cornerbacks to emerge as the savior for a defense that was never a strength in the now-scrapped 3-4 alignment.

Remember names like Terence Newman and Mike Jenkins? Not long ago these players, now with the Cincinnati Bengals and Oakland Raiders respectively, were the top two cornerbacks in Dallas—at least most of the time as current corner Orlando Scandrick earned his share of starts due to injury issues to Newman and Jenkins.

Over the last two NFL offseasons, owner and general manager Jerry Jones has spent a ton of resources on new cornerbacks, somehow thinking that this was actually the problem with the Dallas defense.

Jones couldn’t have been farther from the truth.

Brandon Carr signed a massive free-agent contract with Dallas just over a year and a half ago. Jones committed to the then-fourth-year veteran for five years and $50 million. Just weeks later, he pulled a double-play at the cornerback position by blowing a second-round pick in the 2012 NFL draft when he traded up to the sixth-overall selection to grab LSU cornerback Morris Claiborne. Both of Jones’ new cornerbacks were given signing bonuses of $10 million or just over that amount.

So, how’s that working out?

I did not like the Claiborne selection simply because he wasn’t going to provide any immediate answers for a defense that was already challenged in terms of stopping the opposing rushing attack. Since his selection in April of last year, the second-year veteran has two interceptions and has actually been demoted from the starting lineup this year. By comparison, Jenkins has the same number of interceptions this year as Claiborne—one.

Fair or not, Carr’s performance against Detroit Lions wide receiver Calvin Johnson last Sunday illustrated that he’s not exactly the shut-down type of cornerback that a $50 million player suggests. Carr does have five interceptions during his season and a half in Dallas—but Newman has three picks during the same time in Cincy, just for comparison.

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