Dallas Cowboys executive vice president Stephen Jones says no decision has been made whether to pick up cornerback Morris Claiborne’s 2016 option.
His comments Wednesday clarified a statement made by his father, owner Jerry Jones, on Tuesday.
Jerry Jones said the Cowboys had seen enough from Claiborne, the sixth overall pick in 2012, to pick up what is expected to be an $11 million option for 2016 this May.
Stephen Jones, however, said that Jerry Jones was simply expressing public support for a player who has been labeled as a big-time bust.
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“Jerry is always going to compliment our players,” Stephen Jones said. “He thinks more of our guys than anybody. But at the same time, when we sit down and take a look at what we have to do underneath our salary cap, that plays into it. We have to look at his health; we have to really measure everything.
“I think his point was we think a lot of Mo. We’re still believers that if Mo had a fully healthy off-season and a fully healthy season, that he would play up to our expectations. But you know that’s just something we have to manage in terms of the money.”
Claiborne, 24, had another injury-plagued season. His 2014 campaign ended in Week 4 against New Orleans when he ruptured a patellar tendon in his left knee. He then underwent surgery to have his right knee scoped earlier this month.
Claiborne is still hoping to be ready for training camp, but there is no guarantee of that for now.
“That’s still to be determined,” Stephen Jones said. “We’ve got to see how he recovers, how his rehab goes, how his progress is. We’ll make those types of decisions accordingly.”
More cornerback issues
More cornerback issues
Outside of Claiborne, the Cowboys still have to make a call on Brandon Carr.
Carr has a cap number of about $12 million next year, a steep price tag for a cornerback who didn’t have an interception last season.
The Cowboys’ brass aren’t as critical of Carr as most, but they also understand how his situation impacts what they do moving forward.
“We’ve got a high cap number with Carr that we’ve got to look at,” Stephen Jones said. “I think Brandon has played well for us. He played better toward the back half of the year.”
Backup corner Sterling Moore, meanwhile, is set to become a restricted free agent.
Who plays right tackle?
Doug Free is going to be a free agent. So is Jermey Parnell.
Those two combined to start all games at right tackle for the Cowboys last season, and both played well. Free opened as the starter, but he missed five regular-season games with foot injuries.
Parnell proved to be a capable replacement, and he started both of the Cowboys’ playoff games as Free continued to deal with his injury that ultimately required surgery.
“That’s another decision we have to make,” Stephen Jones said. “Jermey played really well, and I think a lot of teams will throw on the tape and watch him play and probably a lot of people will consider him a starter.
“We’ll have to make a tough decision there with Doug and Jermey. Hopefully we’ll at least keep one of them.”
▪ Stephen Jones on Jerry Jones being named executive of the year: “I think it’s a long time coming. Obviously, we won three Super Bowls in the ’90s and he played a big part of that. ... It’s great that he finally got that acknowledgment.”
▪ Cowboys great Lee Roy Jordan attended Wednesday’s Senior Bowl practices. Said Jordan: “I played in this game 47 years ago, so it’s really exciting to be back. At least this time I won’t get any teeth knocked out. I had four knocked out when I played in the game because a guy’s facemask bar came under mine and shattered them off. So that’s a good thing.”
Drew Davison, 817-390-7760