Dallas Cowboys executives praised the progress made by cornerback Morris Claiborne in his rehab from a torn patellar tendon in his left knee, saying they expect him to contribute to the 2015 team.
But that simply wasn’t enough to justify picking up the fifth-year option on Claiborne’s contract. As expected, the Cowboys declined to do that by Sunday’s deadline.
Claiborne signed a four-year, $16.2 million contract as the sixth overall pick in the 2012 draft, and would have been in line for a salary of approximately $11 million in 2016 should the Cowboys had exercised the option year. The dollar amount is equal to the transition tag for cornerbacks in their fourth year.
The discussion had to be fairly easy considering Claiborne’s injury history and lack of production on the field.
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Claiborne played in only four games last season before suffering the season-ending injury, and made early season headlines when he stormed out of the team’s facility after being demoted from the starting lineup. In 2013, Claiborne missed games with a hamstring injury.
For his career, Claiborne has 26 starts and three interceptions, and has largely been labeled as a first-round bust. The Cowboys remain hopeful, though, that Claiborne is productive this season and is fully recovered when training camp opens later this summer.
The Cowboys addressed their secondary needs in this year’s draft, too, selecting UConn cornerback Byron Jones with the 27th overall pick.
Drew Davison, 817-390-7760