Originally posted on Football Nation  |  Last updated 8/31/12

Orlando Scandrick was given a new contract before Mike Jenkins did.

At the time, Scandrick was a valuable nickel corner, and had shown the potential that could justify the contract he signed.

Now, he is an overpaid cornerback who is fourth on the depth chart, barring injury.

In the offseason, Jerry Jones made all the right moves by acquiring one of the top CBs on the market, then trading up for Morris Claiborne, who they could start for a relatively cheap price.

In doing so, he alienated Mike Jenkins, a player who was expecting to land his second contract, the contract where players tend to get paid best.

Brandon Carr has a five-year deal at market price, somewhere between $5 million and $10 million a year depending on how many incentives he hits. Morris Claiborne is signed for four years with a fifth year option, at about $1.5 million a year. 

Most of what he got out of his contract came in the $10 million signing bonus, which is prorated for the duration of his contract and puts his cap number at about $4 million a year.

Scandrick still has five more years left on his current contract, and costs a little more than Claiborne - his deal was $27 million for five years, so just north of $5 million a year. 

If the Cowboys can cut him this year, then they can use that extra space to give Jenkins a contract.  With Morris Claiborne's inexperience and Mike Jenkins' health still a question mark, they don't have that luxury.

At the same time, finding room for Mike Jenkins is a must. He is a very good cornerback, too good to let him just walk. Being the third corner and seeing less snaps should also keep him healthy, making him far more effective when he does have to start or step in for a play to give a teammate a breather.

A three-year contract that pays about as much per year as Scandrick's could keep Jenkins happy. If they can hold on to Jenkins until Claiborne's rookie deal runs out, the money will stay balanced and the secondary will stay deep while Romo, Witten, and Ware are in their prime. 

If they can replace Carr in five years and Claiborne lives up to his potential, this secondary could become the cornerstone for the next generation of Cowboys (TE James Hanna, QB Stephen McGee, and ILB Sean Lee).

Both this generation and the next could succeed or fail, and it all depends on finding a way to keep Jenkins - which is best accomplished by trading or cutting Scandrick.

If you feel that Jenkins isn't worth it, or simply want to add data that you feel is usefulto the case for Jenkins, feel free to comment below.

You can also follow the author on Twitter (@RGDSports) or Facebook (RGDSports@yahoo.com).



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