Ian Rapoport of NFL Network confirmed the one-year deal, citing a league source, while Todd Archer of ESPN reported the contract is for $3 million and could reach as high as $3.75 million. The Cowboys confirmed the deal on Monday.
Claiborne, 26, has played his entire career in Dallas since the Cowboys took him in the first round of the 2012 NFL draft. He played in just 11 games because of a hamstring injury in 2015.
Even if his incentives kick in and his contract nears $4 million, it will be significantly less than the $11 million Dallas would have owed him if it had picked up his 2016 team option, per Michael David Smith of Pro Football Talk.
Claiborne, who has three career interceptions, has not lived up to expectations in Dallas, per Drew Davison of the Fort Worth Star Telegram:
Claiborne...has largely been viewed as a bust since joining the Cowboys as the sixth overall pick in the 2012 draft out of LSU. He has missed 23 regular-season games the past three seasons with various injuries.
He had his best professional season last year before battling hamstring injuries down the stretch. Those injuries forced him to miss five games. Claiborne finished the season with no interceptions, and the coaches credited him with 42 tackles and nine passes defended. He had one interception in each of his previous three seasons.
The Cowboys must have agreed with Davison because of their decision not to pick up the option, and it's possible he didn't have a ton of options on the free-agent market.
Even so, Dallas vice president Stephen Jones insisted Claiborne has better days ahead of him, per Davison.
“He had his best offseason and had his best year," Jones said. "I think sometimes it takes time for younger players to really figure it out in terms of what it takes to be a pro in this league."
Considering the price is good, the contract is short and the Dallas brass seems to think he fits in well, it was a good move all around. If he plays well, the Cowboys could have the upper hand on signing him to a long-term deal. If Claiborne has a down year, they aren't on the hook past 2016, and the two sides can part ways.