By Stephen Hawkins, AP Sports Writer
ARLINGTON, Texas (AP) — Jerry Jones says the Dallas Cowboys have no intention of trading CB 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 the Redskins. Burbank ruled in favor of the league and dismissed the grievances by both teams. Dallas lost $10 million in salary cap because of overloading contracts during 2010, while the Redskins lost $36 million in cap space divided equally between the upcoming season and 2013.
"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 he feels the team's window to contend with players like QB Tony Romo, LB DeMarcus Ware and TE Jason Witten 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."
After throwing the ceremonial first pitch before the Texas Rangers game, Romo said he appreciates the fact Jones has the same passion as the players about wanting to win.
"I love Jerry for the simple fact that he has the same approach. I don't feel like every owner's objective is 100 percent. I think people all want to win, but Jerry's decisions are all, he's going to do whatever gives us the best chance to win right now, right at this moment, and I love that," Romo said. "That sense of urgency is absolutely there, and that's why I love having an owner like that who knows it's about right now."
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 CB Morris Claiborne sixth overall.
Dallas got its top offseason target in free agency, signing CB 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 QB Kyle Orton, S Brodney Pool, LB Dan Connor and FB 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 he 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. Jones expects Jenkins to be at the mandatory veteran minicamp June 12-14.
"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."