Dallas Cowboys Need to Keep Mike Jenkins at All Costs
According to numerous sources (Adam Schefter, ESPN Dallas), the Indianapolis Colts are working very hard to trade for Mike Jenkins. No, seriously. Specifically, they are proposing a package that "many teams would be interested in."Jenkins has decided to not participate in Organized Team Activities because he wants either a long term contract from the Cowboys or to be traded to another team. Unfortunately for him, Jason Garrett and other team officials have maintained that they will not move him to another team. Regardless of what the Colts (or any other team) realistically offers for him, Dallas has to keep Jenkins on the roster.
It's tough to know exactly what Jenkins' value is to other teams—exactly what is an offer that teams "would be interested in", anyway? But the Cowboys know exactly what Jenkins' value to this team is. Say what you want (and I've said plenty) about Jenkins' inconsistent play, but he is better than the average NFL starting cornerback. Depending on how rookie Mo Claiborne pans out in training camp, Dallas could have a quality player as their dime cornerback, and the nickel corner at the very least—not many teams can say that. As a team that struggled mightily against the pass last season, it is vital to stockpile as much talent on that part of the depth chart as possible.
Injuries also necessitate Jenkins staying at Valley Ranch. Last season showed how quickly an injury can take a position of strength and turn it into one of weakness (see Mike Jenkins, DeMarco Murray, and almost Miles Austin). Having a set of three solid cornerbacks is good, but having four viable options is better. Being able to have a former Pro Bowl player in your sub packages is a luxury that few teams have, and sets the defense up well against elite receiver corps.
What would the Cowboys be turning down? Not much. Looking at the Indianapolis Colts' roster, is there any player that you would want in exchange for Jenkins? Obviously the Colts aren't parting ways with Dwight Freeney, Andrew Luck, or Reggie Wayne. After that, there's no one that is worth depleting the deepest cornerback group in the league. And unless they're going to offer a first or second round pick (not very likely since he's in the last year of his contract), Jenkins is more valuable to the team as a depth builder than an extra fourth round pick.
Jenkins wants to be traded and has found a willing trade partner, but Dallas is not allowing a player's demands to direct the course of the personnel department. Instead, they are looking out for the club's best interests. Jenkins may feel like he's in a horrible position, but he will find plenty of playing time on the field with this team—either through injury, sub packages in a pass heavy league, or by beating out familiar foe Orlando Scandrick for the third cornerback spot. At the end of the season the Cowboys will either re-sign him or he will be able to test the market and find a new team. Either way, it is in his best interest to contribute at a high level for the team he plays on this season and increase his market value. It's in Dallas' best interest to ensure that that team is the Cowboys.
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