Calvin Watkins of ESPNDallas.com, quoting an unnamed source, writes that Cowboys CB Mike Jenkins will report to Valley Ranch on time on Wednesday this week. While most veterans will report to training camp on Sunday in Oxnard, rookies, quarterbacks and injured players start their portion of camp a few days earlier.
A big deal was made at the time of the fact that Jenkins did not report to the voluntary portions of OTAs. This of course caused more hyperventilation and knee-jerking than the fact that a total of 19 players on the Ravens' roster decided to skip out on Baltimore's OTAs, which - huge coincidence - were also voluntary.
In the end, Jenkins did show up for the mandatory minicamp, but was obviously in no condition for any onfield activity due to his shoulder surgery. And while that was six weeks ago, and his condition may have improved since then, there's a good chance Jenkins could start camp on the PUP list.
Quick recap of the PUP rules: Only players who cannot practice at the start of training camp can be placed on the PUP list. During camp, a player can be moved off the PUP list and onto the active roster at any time. However if Jenkins should remain on the PUP List until the start of the season, he'll not be allowed to play or practice for at least six weeks (but can participate in team meetings and pursue his rehab with the trainers). After those six weeks, Jenkins could practice with the team and the Cowboys would have three weeks during which the could move Jenkins to the active roster. If a player on PUP doesn't practice during that three-week window, he'll stay on the PUP for the remainder of the season.
Complicating the Jenkins situation a little further is today's release of CB Aaron Berry by the Lions. The Lions, along with the Colts, were two teams known to have inquired about Jenkins during the offseason.
During the draft, the Cowboys had explored options of trading Jenkins, but shut down any trade talks shortly thereafter, possibly in an attempt at damage control, perhaps as a way to gain leverage in future trade talks, or maybe simply because they actually like the idea of having good depth at cornerback for a change. Jerry Jones was clear on that in early May:
“Jenkins is not only this year, but a long-term player here as far as I’m concerned. [He is] a vital part of our plan . . . a very critical role in what we want to be defensively.”
“I think we’ve got the resources to have three top corners, and Scandrick, which in my mind would be a fourth corner,” Jones said. “That area of your money allocation just happens to be an area where if you plan right to get strong at corner and strong with the pass rush, you’re going to spend some money out there.”
And after the Colts and Lions trade rumors surfaced at the end of May, Jason Garrett reiterated the Cowboys' position:
“Mike Jenkins, we believe, is a big part of our football team right now and he’s making a business decision not to be here,” Garrett said Wednesday. “But we’re not going to trade him. We like Mike Jenkins. We feel like he can be a part of our team. We’ve got to get him healthy and we’ve got to get him back in and going.”
If the Cowboys do indeed have the resources to keep and pay four corners, that's fine by me. For now though, we all wish Mike Jenkins a speedy recovery. But this is a story that will stay with the Cowboys throughout camp and resurface every time a corner gets injured, arrested, released or chips a fingernail somewhere around the league.