Dallas Cowboys

Cowboys feel good about Claiborne, want Carr and Scandrick back

Dallas Cowboys cornerback Morris Claiborne’s return to health is key to the team’s ability to move rookie top pick Byron Jones to free safety in 2015. Claiborned missed last season with a torn patella tendon and may not be ready to the start of training camp.
Dallas Cowboys cornerback Morris Claiborne’s return to health is key to the team’s ability to move rookie top pick Byron Jones to free safety in 2015. Claiborned missed last season with a torn patella tendon and may not be ready to the start of training camp. Star-Telegram

Ironically enough, the Cowboys drafted Uconn cornerback Byron Jones to play safety not to upgrade their questionable cornerback situation.

Never mind that Mo Claiborne, the disappointing 2012 first-round pick, missed last season with a knee injury and has not yet been cleared for training camp.

Never mind that cornerback Brandon Carr is being asked to take a pay cut or be cut June 1.

Never mind that cornerback Orlando Scandrick is staying away from the off season program in a contract dispute.

Jones, who played cornerback the last two years in college after playing safety as a freshman and sophomore, is being targeted as a ball-hawking center fielder for the Cowboys.

He will start at cornerback but the Cowboys want to move him to safety if Claiborne returns to health and they get things sorted out with Carr and Scandrick.

"There’s an appealing, if Mo Claiborne comes back guns ablazing, he can play free safety," vice president Stephen Jones. "This guy has done it well."

The devil is in the details with Claiborne, who has been a bust of a first round pick and his coming of a torn left patella tendon. The Cowboys are not picking up his fifth-year option, putting him in the last year of his contract.

Yet, they maintain he can be factor for them this year and allow Jones to move to safety.

"Mo can be a major contributor," vice president Stephen Jones said. "He’s a pretty good cornerback when he’s back in there. He’s on target to get back, that’s what I would say about that. Mo can be a major contributor. I would characterize Mo’s progress as really good … might be aggressive to say he’ll be out there Day 1 [of training camp], but he’s doing a hell of a job back."

Owner Jerry Jones said Claiborne has progressed a great deal since February when the Cowboys thought he might not even be ready for the start of the season. He certainly feels good about him being ready for training camp.

The situations with Carr and Scandrick are a little more prickly. Carr has been asked to take a pay cut and that situation will be addressed after the draft.

The Cowboys are hopeful of getting something worked out.

Scandrick wants a raise from his $1.5 million base salary and is staying away from the voluntary off season program.

Things will ratchet up for him when the mandatory mini camp hits in June.

Either way owner Jerry Jones said Scandrick is under contract and he him to be on the field in 2015.

It all would allow the athletic and versatile Jones to move to free safety, which would be best for the secondary and the entire team by improving a disappointing position.

J.J. Wilcox and Barry Church have started at safety the past two years though both are more suited for the run-stopping strong safety position.

Related stories from Fort Worth Star Telegram

  Comments