The Memorial Day weekend was ushered in last week with some news from ESPN's Adam Schefter. Schefter, who posted his information on ESPN Dallas-Fort Worth, reported that the Colts were pushing hard to trade for disgruntled Cowboys corner Mike Jenkins.
Jenkins had been a starter in Dallas since 2009, a year in which he went to the Pro Bowl. However, with the Cowboys trading up in the draft to land LSU's Morris Claiborne and their big money acquisition of free agent Brandon Carr, Jenkins isn't starting anymore. It doesn't matter if he comes into Cowboys camp looking like Deion Sanders circa 1995. Claiborne and Carr are the starters, period.
That said, keeping Jenkins makes sense for Dallas no matter what the Colts are reportedly offering. Schefter wrote that a person connected to the Colts told him that Indianapolis has been trying to pry loose Jenkins with an offer that (I'm assuming) another source said, "many teams would think is compelling." This suggests a second round pick in 2013 for Jenkins. No lower than a 3rd rounder. Third day picks are not considering "compelling."
So far, the Cowboys aren't biting, and for good reason. They play in the division with Eli Manning, Michael Vick, and now Robert Griffin III. To be competitive in this league, you now need at least three quality corners who can play man-to-man. With Carr, Claiborne, and Jenkins, the Cowboys have just that. Toss in Orlando Scandrick, and that's an impressive group.
However, the interesting elements at play behind the scenes suggest that a trade is still possible. Jenkins has made it clear he is not happy and is skipping the team's OTAs. The other compelling item is that Colts G.M. Ryan Grigson is making more aggressive moves to improve an anemic defense not for 2013 or 2014, but for 2012.
Look, jokers like me were critical of Grigson's first draft (side note: being critical is not the same thing as "hating" the draft class) because he only allotted two picks out of ten to the defense. The excuses of the draft being "an inexact science" is often a load of bunk. You want a player, you go get him. If the Colts really want a corner like Casey Hayward, they should have traded more to get him.
I get the sense that Colts defensive coordinator Greg Manusky felt that way at the conclusion of the draft. Colts brass can spin the whole "we're a team" mantra all they want. Manusky's reputation is in the toilet right now, and this is his last chance to prove to everyone that he can coach a defense. If the Colts play like they did on defense in 2011, Manusky will take the brunt of the blame. He knows it. Grigson knows it.
This is why, in my opinion, Grigson is pushing hard to get better corners on this roster. Folks, if the Colts had faith that Jerraud Powers can stay healthy, if they felt that Kevin Thomas or Chris Rucker could someday develop into good corners, they wouldn't be willing to trade for Mike Jenkins. Grigson already sent fullback Chris Gronkowski to Denver in exchange for corner Cassius Vaughn. Look for Vaughn to see more playing time than Thomas or Rucker, who were both drafted by the Polians, not Grigson.
Maybe, just maybe, Grigson making these moves is his way of apologizing to Manusky for, essentially, leaving him hung out to dry in the draft. There are also the continued rumors surrounding Dwight Freeney, which (strangely) have not completely gone away. I doubt Freeney gets traded to the Boys. They were just hit with a salary cap penalty by the league, and Freeney counts $19 mill this year (his final under his current contract).
If a deal is reached for Jenkins, look for it to happen during (or right before) training camp. Both the Cowboys and the Colts will know what talent they are working with by then, and if the Boys are comfortable with Carr, Claiborne, Scandrick, and someone else, they might warm to trading Jenkins.
Keep in mind, landing Jenkins likely means signing him to a long term deal. That's what he wants. He's been dogged by injuries and allegations of laziness. However, he did play last year with an injured shoulder.
What this all tells me is that the Colts are not buying into this notion that it is "OK" for the defense to "suck" in 2012. If the front office is potentially willing to trade a 2nd rounder for Mike Jenkins, that tells me they want to make the playoffs not just in 2013 or 2014, but this season.