IRVING, Texas --If indeed Mike Jenkins skips the start of OTA's this week -- even if he stays away from all 10 sessions over the next three weeks -- he's technically not breaking any team rules. Everything until the June 12-14 minicamp (OTA's, workouts, meetings) is voluntary. Technically.
So is a player's rehabilitation from injuries, something the Cowboys say Jenkins has mostly chosen to do in his home state of Florida.
To me, that's something the Cowboys have every right to be concerned about, voluntary or not.
Maybe Jenkins feels like the additions of Brandon Carr and Morris Claiborne won't allow him to get a fair shake this year and beyond. If he's upset, I don't really blame him. He showed a lot of guts playing through a lot of injuries last year, and despite all that, he was probably the Cowboys' best cornerback.
I doubt he sees a long-term future here, and he's quite possibly right, no matter what the team says publicly. There are only so many dollars the Cowboys can commit to one position, and Claiborne's contract will probably push the total close to $90 million to Claiborne, Carr and Orlando Scandrick.
Whether Jenkins is here or not this week, his surgically-repaired shoulder will prevent him from competing with his new cornerback competition on the field. Certainly Jason Garrett would like all his players around for team meetings, even a fifth-year veteran like Jenkins. Those are merely mental, if not physical, reps.
But we're talking about a major shoulder injury that requires months and months of rehab. The team doctors, athletic trainers and strength coaches who have overseen Jenkins' previous rehabs since 2008 should be able to monitor his progress personally and daily. The organization, which still has at least one more year invested in Jenkins, should be able to know there aren't any potential setbacks ahead when the pads come on in late July. That is, barring a trade of some sort before then.
Again, it's not mandatory. But to me, a player's rehab should be something teams have more control over in the offseason. That's an issue the NFL would have to address at a different point in time.
When Jenkins is healthy and playing his best, he's still a good enough player to start on this defense, despite these recent additions. He can be an asset.
Obviously based on reports, though, there appears to be some question over whether he wants to be.