IRVING (CBSDFW.COM) – What a terrific bold move by the Cowboys to move up eight spots and grab the best defensive player in this draft on Thursday. Obviously, Morris Claiborne moves right into the lineup as a starting cornerback opposite Brandon Carr. Sure, the price was high (giving up a 2nd round pick), but to get a premium player you have to pay a premium price.
So, what about Mike Jenkins? And, what about trading back into the 2nd round?
Reportedly, the Cowboys are shopping Jenkins, as they should be. But there’s a problem. He just had shoulder surgery in January and still has three months of rehab to go. He should be fine by the start of training camp, but it’s tough to deal a player coming off surgery. Furthermore, it’s tough to get value for any player during the draft. It’s even tougher to shop a player who is entering his free agent year.
On the flip side, Jenkins is only due to make $1 million this year, so a contending team in need of a CB might be willing to take him on a cheap one-year rental. At best, he is probably a “trade-enhancer” if you’re thinking about including him in a deal for a 2nd round pick today. You might be able to deal him straight up for a late round pick tomorrow. As an example, Philadelphia was only able to get a 7th rounder from Atlanta for Asante Samuel earlier this week. One difference is the fact that Samuel makes about 9 times as much money as Jenkins does.
So, to get back into the 2nd round, you could target a deal with a team that considers itself a contender and needs a cornerback. Tennessee, with the 52nd pick, and Detroit, at 54, come to mind. Former Cowboys assistant coach Brett Maxie is the Titans’ new secondary coach. Tennessee is looking to replace Cortland Finnegan, whom they lost in free agency. Detroit lost cornerback Eric Wright, and with high playoff hopes, the Lions could be interested.
Even with Jenkins included in a deal, though, the Cowboys probably will have to part with next year’s 2nd round pick to get back into that round this year. That is, unless they want to offer this year’s 3rd rounder and Jenkins. That is something I would not do. The third round is prime territory to pick up a 3rd receiver like slot candidates Ryan Broyles of Oklahoma, T. Y. Hilton of Florida International, or Joe Adams of Arkansas.
What player might the Cowboys be able to land if they can acquire a mid to late 2nd round pick? Possibilities include Cincinnati DE Derek Wolfe, Connecticut DE Kendall Reyes, Illinois OL Jeff Allen, Wisconsin C Peter Konz, Clemson OLB Andre Branch, Virginia OLB Cam Johnson, or Clemson TE Dwayne Allen.
There’s another avenue the Cowboys could explore. Sources tell our Steve Dennis that Jason Garrett is particularly enamored with Stanford TE Coby Fleener. In fact, that insider indicates that had the 1st round fallen a certain way last night, the Cowboys would have considered trading down and taking Fleener late in the round. If indeed the head coach is fixated on drafting Fleener and trying to create the same two-headed tight end monster that New England has, Dallas would need to be on the phone with St. Louis today in an attempt to secure the 1st pick of the 2nd round.
Also, keep in mind that veteran tight end Visanthe Shiancoe, who was a New York Giants teammate of Jason Garrett his rookie season in 2003, is still available in free agency. Dealing Mike Jenkins’ $1 million salary would probably be enough salary cap space to accommodate a Shiancoe signing.