Way back in 2012, the Dallas Cowboys made a major move in the draft. They jumped from 14th to 6th in the first round to select cornerback Morris Claiborne out of LSU. He was famously tagged as the best cornerback prospect since Deion Sanders. At the time, the Cowboys and most everybody else felt that Dallas got the best defensive prospect in the draft. Sadly, four years later, that is definitively not the case. In January of this year, Jerry Jones tried to pretend that Claiborne had done enough to warrant picking up the fifth-year option of his rookie contract, but calmer heads have prevailed.
Today the Cowboys announced the inevitable, they will not pick up the fifth-year option on Claiborne's rookie contract. He will be a free agent at the end of the season unless they do a new deal. If the Cowboys had picked up the option they would have owed Claiborne a little over $11 million. That obviously was not going to happen.
The Cowboys have a solid record with first-round picks recently except for Claiborne. His injury issues have been one of the main factors in his disappointing time in Dallas, and he is trying to recover from a knee injury for 2015. He's not expected to be ready for the start of the season, making the drafting of Byron Jones all the more important.
The situation at corner will have to be resolved going forward, and that may also affect what happens at safety. The only sure thing we know is that Orlando Scandrick will be one of the mainstays at corner in 2015. The Cowboys still have to resolve their contract situation with Brandon Carr. They will have to evaluate what they can expect from Corey White and Tyler Patmon. They will have to monitor the progress on Claiborne's injury. And they will need to see how quickly first-round pick Byron Jones can adapt to the program.
Jason Garrett hinted that Jones could see time at safety depending on what happens with Claiborne. It's even been suggested by some that Claiborne might see some time at safety. The Cowboys have lots of moving parts in the secondary, but this will be Morris Claiborne's last chance to prove his worth to the Cowboys.
What say you BTB, will Claiborne play a significant role in the secondary this year? And will it be enough for the Cowboys to attempt to re-sign him?