Mike Jenkins was the subject of trade rumors during the off-season after his agent requested a trade, but the trade deadline came and went Thursday, and Jenkins still is on the Dallas Cowboys’ roster. Dallas never considered trading the cornerback despite having Brandon Carr and Morris Claiborne as starters and Orlando Scandrick as their nickel back.
"We need him," executive vice president Stephen Jones said Thursday. "We need corners in case something happens. We’ve only got four corners."
Jenkins said Thursday he kept his mind off the trade deadline.
"I figured if it was going to happen, I would have heard something by now," Jenkins said. "So I just tried to stay focused on the week, learning what I needed to learn for this week and just going on with the Cowboys."
Jenkins has been a team player despite his reduced role on the defense, and he said he was not disappointed that he didn’t get a chance to go somewhere to start.
"I’m happy," Jenkins said. "The situation, I’m past that right now. I’m just happy that they’re playing me. I’m getting to play. I can’t complain. Coaches are communicating. I’m not left out of anything. So I’m pretty set. I’m good. I’m in a happy spot."
Jenkins missed the off-season work, training camp, the preseason and the season opener while recovering from reconstructive shoulder surgery. Since then, he has played only 85 of a possible 352 defensive plays, including but six snaps against Baltimore and one against Carolina. He also has played 22 special teams plays.
Jenkins has been targeted eight times, allowing only three receptions for 82 yards and no touchdowns, according to STATS, Inc.
"I feel like I’ve played pretty good," Jenkins said. "As far as the situation going in, I’ve been put in all around the field, just playing safety. I feel like I’m doing pretty good. I also feel like I can do a lot better, because I missed out from the preseason, and I just came straight into the season. I know there’s a lot of room for improvement."
Jenkins’ versatility should help him in contract negotiations next spring. He is in the final year of his rookie contract after the Cowboys made him the 25th overall pick in 2008, and he likely will seek a place where he can compete for the starting job. He has 47 career starts.
"Hopefully, a lot of guys see that I’m flexible," Jenkins said. "They can move me around. I can play anything. I think I have enough film as far as a corner standpoint. I just want people to know they can also move me around like the Charles Woodsons, put me in situations like that, and I can guard anybody on the field. So hopefully that helps me out in the future."