In just 21 days the Dallas Cowboys will be reporting to their preseason training camp in Oxnard, California. So far, top draft pick CB Morris Claiborne has not been signed to a contract and will not be there without a contract. Exactly why he hasn’t been signed yet isn’t real clear as his agent and Jerry Jones aren’t sharing specifics with the public. STORY
The new players agreement determines what rookies will get paid so what could be the problem? There is a contract term being thrown around called “offset language” which basically means that the contract is either going to be fully guaranteed for four years or on the other hand, teams will not be on the hook for a players contract if/when he is cut. That would appear to be the sticking point.
Reality is that Jerry Jones really doesn’t have much choice but to get Claiborne signed, without offset language, and before July 29.
And here are my 6 reasons why:
1) Cowboys are all in– The Cowboys traded away a second round pick in order to move up and get Claiborne at #6. A pretty big price to pay to get him and that makes it highly likely they intend to start him opening day and therefore they need him in camp to get ready. The commitment was made when that 2nd round pick was dealt away.
2) No OTAs for Claiborne– Claiborne had surgery on his wrist during the offseason so he was not allowed to fully participate in OTAs. Claiborne was present but not allowed to make contact so he needs a full training camp prior to the season with some contact included.
3) Luke Keuchly– What does he have to do with it? Kuechly was picked #9 in the 2012 NFL draft by the Panthers just a few picks after Claiborne. His contract doesn’t include any offset language.
The precedent for no offset language in a contract has already been set. Jerry is guaranteeing this contract whether he likes it or not.
4) Mike Jenkins on PUP– If Jerry thought he had a bargaining chip with returning and experienced CB Jenkins, that plan got shot down during OTAs when he discovered Jenkins’ shoulder hasn’t healed and he is looking at being on the PUP list to start the season. STORY
Jenkins simply can’t be counted on to start the first game so Dallas needs Claiborne more than ever now.
5) GIANTS 9/5/12– That is the date the Cowboys play the NY Giants in their first game of the season and the very first NFL game for any team for the 2012 season. It is a critical NFC East game right off the bat and it is going to be an early start of the season for Dallas. In fact, their entire preseason is going to happen quickly.
No time to sit around and wait for this deal to get done. Claiborne has got to be in camp July 29 for Dallas to prepare to play their NFC East rivals and defending super bowl champ Giants.
6) Low risk- Some of the Cowboys 2012 draft picks come with question marks however Claiborne isn’t one of them. The chances that Dallas would cut him before his four year contract ends is not likely at all so why get hung up on the point? If Dallas thinks Claiborne is a risk, then they were very foolish to trade away a 2nd round pick to move up and grab him at #6.
As you can see, Jerry isn’t holding the cards on this deal. Why it is dragging out this long is a mystery to me but don’t lose any sleep on it. When July 29 comes around, # 24 Mo Claiborne will be checking into a room in Oxnard to start training camp.
TOLD YOU! 7/23: Claiborne signs fully guaranteed contract