Jerry Jones says the Dallas Cowboys have no intention of trading cornerback Mike Jenkins or any interest in going to federal court to further fight the NFL about a $10 million salary cap reduction.
Jones made it clear Wednesday that he fully expects Jenkins to stay with the Cowboys, even as the cornerback was missing another week of voluntary workouts. Jenkins has remained home in Florida after shoulder surgery and there have been numerous reports he wants to be traded after Dallas added two prominent cornerbacks in recent weeks.
"I'm real excited about what we can do defensively with having his skills along with the other corners we have. ... We could really have a chance to do something exceptional in our secondary and I want to give us every chance to do that," Jones said. "I'm sure not interested in the future. I'm all about what we can do next season."
Jenkins, who is going into the final year of his contract, was the first topic presented to Jones during an impromptu 25-minute session with reporters on the field at Cowboys Stadium, where the team practiced instead of Valley Ranch because of some rain overnight and that morning.
Jones called last season "probably the most disappointing" in his tenure as the Cowboys owner. Dallas finished 8-8 after losing the season finale against the New York Giants, who claimed the NFC's last playoff spot with that victory and went on to win the Super Bowl.
The owner's session came a week after arbitrator Stephen Burbank upheld the NFL's salary cap reductions against the Cowboys and Washington Redskins. Burbank ruled in favor of the league and dismissed the grievances by both teams. Dallas lost $10 million in salary cap for overloading contracts during 2010, while the Redskins lost $36 million for this season and next.
"We were very emphatic that there was no deal among the owners about anything to do with a cap, and that was our position," Jones said. "We honor the arbitrator. The ruling was that the place to hear this was not in his jurisdiction, the place to hear it was over in federal court, which we're not interested in getting involved like that."
Asked why not, Jones responded, "I just don't want to" without elaborating.
Jones again talked about how feels the team's window to contend with players like quarterback Tony Romo, linebacker DeMarcus Ware and tight end Jason Whitten was getting shorter.
"There is an urgency. It's my perception that decides when the windows are and where they are," he said. "With that in mind, I'm saying that we need to get out here, get down to business, get in some playoffs and get knocking on the door."
Jones has owned the Cowboys since 1989, and they haven't been back to the Super Bowl since winning three titles in a four year span in the mid-1990s. Plus, the owner will turn 70 during the upcoming season, so he knows he's not getting any younger.
"I think about it in everything I do," Jones said. "I remember when I was younger I wanted to be older so people would pay more attention and I could talk to them better. So it seems like we're always referring to that, experience or age, but from my perspective right now, I don't have time to have a bad time."
Even with the $10 million salary cap reduction, $5 million each this year and next, the Cowboys were able to fill some pressing needs in free agency. They then moved up eight spots while giving up their second-round pick in the draft to select LSU All-America cornerback Morris Claiborne sixth overall.
Dallas got its top offseason target in free agency, signing cornerback Brandon Carr to a $50 million, five-year contract with $26.5 million guaranteed. Offensive linemen Mackenzy Bernadeau and Nate Livings got starter-worthy multiyear contracts, and Dallas also signed backup quarterback Kyle Orton, safety Brodney Pool, linebacker Dan Connor and fullback Lawrence Vickers.
The additions of Carr and Claiborne certainly could have an impact on playing time for Jenkins, who started 12 games last season. He missed four with a hamstring injury, though dealt with other nagging injuries all season.
Even with Carr and Claiborne, Jones still expects Jenkins to be a big part of the Cowboys defense.
"I can't think of anything that helps the Cowboys better than to have Jenkins on the team. Nothing. And I'm not interested in what we gain in the future," Jones said, again dismissing any idea of a trade "And I'm certainly not interested in the iffiness in the future when I've got my hands on someone that I know can play winning football this year."