The Indianapolis Colts are interested in cornerback Mike Jenkins. I heard the Detroit Lions are, too. But there are other teams that want nothing to do with him.
Reality set in for me Friday when I was told, again, the Dallas Cowboys are not interested in trading Jenkins.
There are several reasons why. Let’s explore.
1. Injuries. Jenkins battled through shoulder, neck and knee issues last season and still tied for the team lead with 10 pass breakups. In some ways, Jenkins was the Cowboys’ best corner last season given how badly Terence Newman played down the stretch and Orlando Scandrick’s own inconsistencies. But the Cowboys played five cornerbacks last season. The names? Jenkins, Newman, Scandrick, Alan Ball and Frank Walker. Newman, Jenkins and Scandrick — the top corners on the team — missed a total of nine games due to injuries last season. You can never have enough cornerbacks on your team considering how fragile the position can be. Morris Claiborne, Dallas’ first-round pick, hasn’t practiced yet with his new team while he recovers from wrist surgery. Scandrick battled ankle problems last season. You need depth on your team, and keeping Jenkins adds that.
2. Jenkins was good. He did make the Pro Bowl in 2009 as an injury replacement, so the Cowboys know he can play at a high level. His inconsistencies bother them, but Jenkins is good in man and zone coverage. He’s got the speed to run with speedy receivers and his size is good enough to take on taller receivers, too. The issue Jenkins faces is not being a physical corner. Jenkins isn’t afraid to mix it up with receivers and tight ends in tight spaces, but he doesn’t do it as much as he used to. Some NFL teams wish he would do it more. The question you have to ask yourself is, is Jenkins better than Scandrick?
3. The Cowboys’ trade needs. A front office source said the Cowboys want something significant for Jenkins if they deal him. What does significant mean? A fourth-round pick? Fifth round? Seventh round? It’s doubtful the Cowboys are getting a first- or second-round selection for Jenkins. Not because Jenkins isn’t worth it, but because he’s in the final year of his contract and he’s coming off shoulder surgery. The Cowboys don’t have much leverage. If you just want to give him away, you can always get a seventh rounder for him. But keeping Jenkins could also mean gaining an compensatory pick in next year’s NFL draft.
Calvin Watkins | ESPNDallas.com
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