Jimmy Watson of the Shreveport Times recently caught up with Cowboys' rookie Morris Claiborne in Shreveport at an autograph signing. Asked about his lack of a signed contract so far, Claiborne replied that he would be in camp on time:
"You hear a lot of talk about people saying I’m holding out. No I’m not holding out. I’m going to camp signed or not signed. It don’t matter."
“I can’t wait. It’s been a while because of my wrist, so far so good. It’s getting healthy and I’m ready for camp to start,” he said.
That's good news for Cowboys fans. Due to offseason wrist surgery, Claiborne had been unable to participate in OTAs and minicamps, and while the coaches have been complimentary about his ability to take mental reps and participate in the class room, there's no substitute for actual practice. Especially since the Cowboys' corner situation may look good on paper with Claiborne, Carr and Jenkins as starting-quality NFL corners, but Claiborne hasn't played a snap yet at an NFL level and Jenkins may start the season on the PUP.
The lack of a signed contract is not a question of the contract value per se. Because of slot-by-slot formula of the new CBA, Claiborne will get a contract similar to the four-year, $16.2 million contract that receiver Julio Jones got from Atlanta last year. Rather, the issue is about offset language in the rookie contracts, which would limit the amount of money a player gets should he be cut before the end of his rookie deal. None of the top eight picks from the 2012 NFL draft have signed their contracts yet, in large part because of that offset language.
As soon as one of the top picks signs, the other contracts are likely going to fall into place quickly. For Claiborne and the Cowboys, they'll just have to be patient.
"I let my agents and those guys handle that. So far, they seem to be doing a pretty good job," Claiborne said. "I’ll patiently wait. I’m not in no hurry. "