This was not the four-year plan the Dallas Cowboys had in mind when they drafted cornerback Morris Claiborne with the sixth overall pick in 2012.
There was hope and promise that Claiborne could be the next Patrick Peterson. Injuries (and perhaps a lack of talent) have made even the feigning of that comparison laughable. So I was more than a little shocked when team president (and real life Mr. Burns) Jerry Jones said that the team was open to picking up the fifth year option on Claiborne at the end of the 2015 season. The option would have cost the Cowboys $11 million, and Claiborne’s current value is far, far, FAR less than that. It dropped even lower when the Cowboys selected Byron Jones, a corner, in the first round of this year’s draft. So when the team actually declined the option, it made a lot more sense.
Claiborne has missed 21 games in his first three seasons, and has not shown a competitive attitude as he skipped practice after being demoted last year. Later that week, he tore a pectoral muscle and was lost for the season. Claiborne has one more season to earn his way back as a starter and prove he can play at the NFL level.
If the Cowboys don’t re-sign him, another team will take a chance if he can show the chops that got him drafted sixth overall. If not he’ll be relegated to whatever work he can find, likely invited back for the veteran combine. One fantastic season is all it takes for Claiborne to save his NFL career.