May 30, 2012

Jones wants to keep Jenkins to build depth in Cowboys secondary

Jerry Jones wants to keep disgruntled cornerback Mike Jenkins to build up secondary depth for Dallas.

ARLINGTON -- Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones didn't literally stand on a chair and pound his fist.

And obviously, "because he said it, doesn't make it so."

But as of now, the Cowboys have no interest in trading disgruntled cornerback Mike Jenkins.

Jones has said as much several times since drafting LSU standout Morris Claiborne and signing free agent Brandon Carr, demoting Jenkins from a starter to the third cornerback.

Jones reiterated his stance with no equivocation on Wednesday.

This season is too important and Jenkins is too valuable of an asset even as a backup to part ways.

Jones said he's not listening to trade offers for Jenkins, despite reports that several teams have called the Cowboys expressing interest in acquiring the former Pro Bowler and 2008 first-round pick.

The Cowboys have no intentions of trading Jenkins under any conditions, not even a first-round pick, said Jones, who also made it clear that he has the final say.

"There is no other position other than what I am taking," Jones said during the Cowboys' organized team activity workouts at Cowboys Stadium. "There is nothing that I could conceive that would help us more as a football team, that would help us accomplish what we want to be next year, than having Jenkins on the team."

Jenkins has not been around Valley Ranch. He is rehabbing from shoulder surgery on his own in Florida. He requested a trade after the Cowboys signed Carr to a five-year, $50.1 million deal and then drafted Claiborne.

Jenkins is in the final year of a five-year contract he signed as a rookie. He is scheduled to make $1.052 million and count $1.672 million against the cap. That is less than nickel back Orlando Scandrick, who signed a five-year, $20.5 million extension last August.

"This is just not an issue at all," Jones said. "There is nothing that I can see -- no draft pick that I am interested in -- that could help our team more than Jenkins can."

Of course, it's a moot situation now because Jenkins is still rehabbing from shoulder surgery, and Claiborne has yet to practice as he mends from wrist surgery.

Once both get to training camp and on the field in July, then that could be a different story, though Jones has no plans to change it because of the sense of urgency he feels to win now.

While Jenkins is certainly miffed by the situation, the Cowboys see a cornerback position that has gone from a weakness to a strength. They see Jenkins as a valuable asset.

Jones said the Cowboys can't have too many cornerbacks in what has become a passing league. He said he wants the Cowboys' cornerback depth to be a strength like defensive ends are with the defending Super Bowl champion New York Giants.

"We're not going to be long in numbers in my view with the way we plan on using these corners," Jones said. "We're going to need them."

It will be defensive coordinator Rob Ryan's job to find a way to make them happy and get them on the field.

"Look, Mike's a professional," Ryan said. "Mike loves his teammates, so when he's ready to play, I'm sure he'll help us."

As far as finding a way to use him and the other cornerbacks, Ryan said that's a good problem to have. He is the one who asked Jones for more help at the position.

"I definitely went in there and emphasized that to our owner, in this division, you have to have multiple corners," Ryan said. "That's the way this game is going."

Clarence E. Hill Jr.


Twitter: @clarencehilljr

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