Commentary

Mike Jenkins drama coming to a head

Cornerback's dispute adds suspense to otherwise calm offseason for Cowboys

Updated: June 15, 2012, 1:03 AM ET
By Calvin Watkins | ESPNDallas.com

ARLINGTON, Texas -- Mike Jenkins has been jogging around the practice fields at Valley Ranch and the football field at Cowboys Stadium the past three days.

[+] EnlargeMike Jenkins
Matthew Emmons/US PresswireMike Jenkins has been all smiles at minicamp, but the Cowboys' relationship with the cornerback this offseason has been anything but harmonious.
He's been smiling -- no scowl, no screaming at a mob of reporters. He talked about the NBA Finals. He gave a nod to familiar reporters.

He's been good. But all is not well with the cornerback.

The facts are Jenkins is not showing up to the Cowboys' voluntary workouts, only mandatory ones. He isn't rehabbing in North Texas from a serious and complicated shoulder surgery.

We don't really know what Jenkins wants. We've got dribs and drabs from people close to the cornerback that indicate he wants a trade. We've been told he wants a contract extension.

The Cowboys are not doing anything but supporting Jenkins' rehab while saying he's not going anywhere. They plan on using him extensively.

So where do we go from here as the players head home for the next few weeks?

Jenkins could report to training camp in late July and make the Cowboys happy. If he doesn't, the team will be forced to either fine or trade him. It's not a situation the Cowboys want -- they'd rather see him on the field.

His shoulder was so bad last season that he had trouble putting his shirt on and taking it off. He played through pain. It showed the Cowboys' brass that he can play through adversity. One of the biggest things I remember defensive coordinator Rob Ryan saying when he first arrived was that he wanted cornerbacks to play with courage.

Jenkins didn't have that reputation, but he turned it around in 2011. He was active on tackles during the regular season. He first became injured trying to make a tackle in training camp, and that seemed to dispel the notion that he's not a physical player.

His recovery from a shoulder injury means he might not hit the field until late August. That's just a guess.

"I know he ultimately will get in a position to play because it's not in his best interest [not to]," Cowboys owner and general manager Jerry Jones said. "I know that it's just not in his best interest to not be ready to play. If it's later, we'll use him later."

If the Cowboys have to use Jenkins later, that's fine because they have Brandon Carr, Morris Claiborne and Orlando Scandrick.

In a way, that's the trouble with this Jenkins drama. He was the Cowboys' best corner last season, yet the franchise thought it was necessary to upgrade the position.

Maybe Jenkins took the offseason moves as a sign of disrespect. Maybe Jenkins just wants to feel loved by the Cowboys.

This entire offseason has gone peacefully for the Cowboys with the exception of Jenkins' dispute. You can't blame him for the way he feels; you just wish he would act a little differently.

The Cowboys are not the enemy here, just a franchise looking out for its best interests, much like Jenkins is looking out for his.

At some point this summer, the Cowboys and Jenkins will come to terms on whether he stays here or goes elsewhere.

Now, for the mailbag:

Q: Raymond Radway was last year's preseason star, but I have not heard much about him since organized team activities and minicamps started. Is he fully recovered, and how is his development as an NFL receiver? What do you think of his chances to make the team this year? -- Ed (Okinawa, Japan)

A: Radway, who is from McKinney, Texas, told me he's fully recovered from a broken leg suffered late in the preseason finale at Miami. He said he thought his career was over when he looked down at his leg that night. But Jones told him on the plane ride home that his career with the Cowboys was secure. Radway has struggled slightly during the OTAs and minicamps. But he's just getting his speed back. It's going to take time. The wide receiver position has picked up with the team adding Andre Holmes and Danny Coale to the mix of receivers fighting for the No. 3 spot. I can't tell you right now whether Radway will make the roster. It's too early.

Q: Do you think with a healthy DeMarco Murray and a rejuvenated defense that the Cowboys have a legitimate chance at a Super Bowl run? -- Josh (Denver City, Texas)

A: Nope. I don't believe Murray is the missing piece to the Super Bowl run many fans are looking for from the Cowboys. I'm not even sure all the moves the Cowboys made this offseason make them a contender. I do like the fact the team is better; I've predicted 10 wins, but the defense still has issues. That safety spot concerns me, and we still haven't seen Claiborne practice, although I suspect he's going to have a strong career.

Q: The front office appears to be sincere about their intentions for Mike Jenkins. Is it possible that this year is not only a long-term audition for Jenkins but for Orlando Scandrick as well, considering his inconsistency at the end of last season? Could Scandrick also be on the trading block, with the Cowboys trying to sign Jenkins? -- Bruce A. Harris (Philadelphia)

A: Scandrick isn't going anywhere, especially after he signed a contract extension last season. The Cowboys like Scandrick's abilities to cover receivers in the slot and his development of what he can do as an outside corner. I don't see how the Cowboys could give Jenkins a contract extension, given how they gave Carr a five-year deal and are expected to do the same with Claiborne. Jenkins won't be here in 2013.

Q: Hey CW, just curious if you think there is any chance at all that Jerry gives Terrell Owens one more shot. As a die-hard fan, I honestly think he would still be better than Kevin Ogletree! -- Nick Melsness (Sterling, Ill.)

A: If T.O. wants to work in the promotions department, I'm sure Jones has a spot for him. But Owens won't play for the Dallas Cowboys again.

Q: Who will be the third receiver for the Cowboys? And how will the offensive line holdup? -- Michael McGehee (Bridgeport, Conn.)

A: After I've watched nearly a month's worth of practices this offseason, Holmes is the leader in the clubhouse. Cole Beasley did some nice things, but I'm interested in seeing Coale and what he can do. Dwayne Harris looks slower than I remembered, and just when I was starting to like Ogletree again, he dropped a touchdown pass on a deep ball during Thursday's practice. Consistency is the key for whoever gets the gig.

Q: How many games will the Cowboys lose by Thanksgiving Day? -- RedskinsFanForever (Maryland)

A: Can we get through September first?

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