Pro Football Focus believes Dallas Cowboys cornerback Morris Claiborne could cash in big this offseason in free agency despite his injury history.
Ever since the Dallas Cowboys traded up in the 2012 NFL Draft to selection LSU cornerback Morris Claiborne sixth overall, understandably fans have had high expectations for the former Tigers’ ballhawk. But that hope soon turned into bitter disappointment as Claiborne has struggled with both injuries and inconsistent play during his first four years in Dallas.
So much so, in fact, the Cowboys refused to pick up his fifth-year option in 2016, making the then 26-year old an outright free agent. But Claiborne felt he had more to prove in Dallas, and opted to sign a one-year, $3 million deal to remain with the Cowboys last season.
And Claiborne’s plan to stay another year in Dallas could potentially pay off big for the free agent this offseason. Despite missing nine games due to a groin injury, his play last year was much improved.
In fact, according to Pro Football Focus, Claiborne’s career average in passer rating surrendered dropped a whopping 40 points last season! That’s why the analytical site believes some NFL team will be willing to overpay for Mo’s services this offseason.
"“Morris Claiborne is the ultimate long-odds gamble for some team this offseason,” wrote Sam Monson for Pro Football Focus recently. “He was the sixth-overall pick in the 2012 draft, and this past season, finally showed that ability on an NFL field. The problem for a team thinking about bringing him in is that he got hurt after just seven games in 2016 and was shut down for the remainder of the regular season…2016 Morris Claiborne was a legit stud, but for only seven games, and the guy he had been before that was bad.”"
The Cowboys have three starters in the defensive secondary who are currently free agents. Those players being Claiborne, cornerback Brandon Carr and safety Barry Church. The Cowboys are expected to bring back at least one of their starters at corner.
Although Claiborne has bigger upside, it’s unlikely the Cowboys would be willing to commit a long-term contract to a player who has missed 33 games in the last five seasons due to injury. That’s over two years total!
Known as a playmaker coming out of LSU, Claiborne has been anything but during his time in Dallas. Including last season, his best overall performance since being drafted by the Cowboys, Mo has recorded a total of only four interceptions. During his final two seasons in college, Claiborne racked up 11 total picks.
Morris Claiborne’s lack of production and injury history should scare off most potential suitors in free agency. But it only takes one to like him enough to take that risk.