Jason Garrett high on Jermey Parnell

IRVING, Texas -- The Cowboys’ decision to trade up for cornerback Morris Claiborne stole the headlines from the club’s decision to sign reserve tackle Jermey Parnell to a three-year deal earlier Thursday.

We kid. But Parnell does hold an important spot on the roster as the backup tackle on game days. The Cowboys are set with Tyron Smith and Doug Free at left and right tackle, and Parnell has gained the confidence of Jason Garrett the last two seasons.

Parnell played in parts of six games last season.

“We like him a lot and we let a number of veteran tackles who were backup options go last year because we felt so good about him,” Garrett said, referring to Sam Young and possibly Marc Colombo.

“He’s a young player. He’s got all of the physical abilities that you want. All the measurable you want. He’s a big, long-armed, with outstanding feet. He’s an excellent athlete. He was a college basketball player, so he has that background, but he’s learning football. The thing we like about him maybe as much as anything else is he has all the measurables, all the athletic ability, but he works very hard. He’s committed to being a great player. When you have that ability and have that approach, you see improvement almost on a daily basis. So we’re excited about him and feel like he has a chance to develop into something we want as a tackle on our football team.”