Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Should the Detroit Lions trade for Cowboy Mike Jenkins?

Mike Jenkins wants out of Dallas after the Cowboys acquired Brandon Carr during free agency and traded up to snag Morris Claiborne 6th overall in this year's draft. Jenkins views himself as a starter, but struggled in 2011 as he battled through injuries including a severe hamstring pull that sidelined him for four games.

The word on the street is Dallas wants a 5th round pick for him.

The intriguing thing about Jenkins is that he had a stellar 2009 campaign while putting in over 1,000 snaps. He regressed in 2010, but bounced back in 2011 to have a mediocre season despite all his injuries. Going forward I would assume he will be at least a slightly above average player with the potential to have a few really good seasons.

This is a classic buy low situation for the Lions. There are a couple problems though:

First of all, Jenkins only has one year left on his contract. It's manageable at just over $1 million, but if they are going to give up a draft pick for him he has to play into their plans for the future. As of right now the Lions only have two cornerbacks under contract for 2013, rookies Bentley and Greenwood. Houston, Smith and Lacey will be unrestricted free agents, while Berry will be a restricted free agent. Jenkins could be in the mix to stick around in Detroit if they trade for him and would give them some leverage if they attempt to extend or re-sign Houston.

The other problem is the depth chart. The Lions are already six deep at the cornerback position and they will likely only keep five on the 53 main roster. Alphonso Smith is probably on his way out which would leave Berry and Lacey on the bubble.

Berry, who is 23, put in a solid season for the Lions in 2011 despite drawing the ire of Lions' fans at the end of the season. Lacey, who is 24, started to turn things around half way through the season after a rough start in Indy. It's possible that Jenkins could outplay both of these guys, but at 27 is much less of a long term prospect.

Mike Jenkins would be somewhat of a gamble, but if the Lions see a potential starter while Greenwood and Bentley develop they'd be wise to pull the trigger. If they think Berry and Lacey are going to be the guys in 2012 and beyond, they'd be wise to pass.

All things considered, the Lions could probably get better use out of their 5th round pick in the draft than spending it on Jenkins.

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