Monday, May 21, 2012
Assuming Mike Jenkins' feelings are hurt...
By Dan Graziano
While pondering whether there's a decent blog post to be made out of this, I noticed this, which is an ESPNDallas.com story about Dallas Cowboys' cornerback Mike Jenkins not planning to show for the team's organized team activities that begin this week. Calvin Watkins' source is telling him that Jenkins, who wants a long-term contract but has likely become the team's No. 3 cornerback after the free-agent signing of Brandon Carr and the draft night trade-up for Morris Claiborne, isn't going to be there:
Jenkins, recovering from offseason shoulder surgery, has attended only a handful of voluntary workouts, and while team officials wish he would come to Valley Ranch to work out, they have said it's not a requirement.
Now, I debated whether to post on this at all. On principle, I'm not a believer in ripping guys -- even suggestively -- for skipping voluntary workouts. They're voluntary, and if a guy wants to skip them because his shoulder hurts or because his niece is graduating high school or because the flight's too long or because he's behind on "Game of Thrones" and wants to stay home and catch up, that's his perfect right. Coaches (and those occasional media members) who get on a guy's case for skipping voluntary workouts are out of line and should stop. So that's not what I'm doing here.
However, on the off chance that Jenkins is skipping the workouts as some sort of protest over his contract situation or his tumble down the depth chart, I'm going to offer him some advice: Not the best idea, Mike. If the coaches have asked you to show up and you're not going because you're trying to prove some sort of point, I think it's got a pretty good chance to backfire.
The Cowboys have no incentive to give Jenkins a contract extension right now, not with all they've sunk into Carr and Claiborne, and even Orlando Scandrick. And skipping workouts isn't going to change that. Claiborne is recovering from wrist surgery and isn't even likely to see the field before July, so it's not as though the rookie's going to be out there struggling while Jenkins sits home and says, "See what I'm talking about? You need me." The Cowboys are going to make it through June on the assumption that Claiborne will play and play well for them in 2012, and they're probably right. Barring an injury to Claiborne or Carr (and even then assuming health from Jenkins, which is a big assumption), Jenkins isn't going to be a starting corner for Dallas this year. While that might hurt his chances to get a new deal from the Cowboys or some other team next year, pouting would hurt worse.
Again, it's entirely possible that Jenkins has a good reason for not showing up this week. But if -- and I mean if -- his reason is some kind of protest about his current situation vis-a-vis the team, I don't think he's making a wise decision. The best thing for Jenkins' market value is to prove he's healthy and look like a team-oriented guy. He's good, and if he's healthy, they'll find ways to get him on the field. But he's not in a very strong position right now, and upsetting team management isn't going to make it any better.