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Thursday, June 30, 2011
Free agent outlook: Cullen Jenkins

By Calvin Watkins

At the halfway point of our free agent series, we look at defensive end Cullen Jenkins. The Cowboys have some issues along the defensive line with three of their ends becoming free agents, and it's doubtful the team will re-sign Marcus Spears, Stephen Bowen and Jason Hatcher with a potential new financial system in place. With that, we now take a look at Jenkins.

Cullen Jenkins
Cullen Jenkins had seven sacks for the Packers last season and would fit in the Cowboys' 3-4 defense.
CULLEN JENKINS, DE, GREEN BAY

Why sign him?Jenkins has shown the ability to play in both the 4-3 and 3-4 scheme. In the Cowboys' 3-4, it wouldn't appear to be a problem to move him into the right or left defensive end spot. Jenkins has battled some injuries in the past, but last season he had seven sacks and was credited with 20 solo tackles according to the Packers coaches' review of the film. Signing Jenkins could also mean Bowen (if he stays) remains on the nickel in the defensive front, where he continues to excel. The Cowboys have young players Clifton Geathers and Sean Lissemore, who will enter their second seasons, as potential backups. Lissemore could use the mentorship of a seven-year veteran like Jenkins to help in his development.

Is there anybody else?Yeah, but if the Cowboys stay away from getting an end on the open market who can contribute in a 3-4, then making sure they sign Bowen, Spears and or Hatcher is a must. It would seem the Cowboys know what they have in Spears, who has started for them since 2005. But Hatcher has underachieved, and Bowen could command a nice little payday on the open market. Ray McDonald of the San Francisco 49ers is an interesting possibility. He had five tackles for loss and 26 quarterback hits last season while backing up Isaac Sopoaga.

Key stat: Bowen had four tackles for loss and 12 quarterback pressures last season.