On Thursday night, the Dallas Cowboys made it clear cornerback Mike Jenkins has no future with the team after Dallas traded up in the 2012 NFL Draft to take LSU’s Morris Claiborne. The Cowboys made a great pick to improve one of the team’s weakest positions, but gave up Friday night’s second-round pick and Dallas is still without a new pass rusher to improve its porous defensive line. One of my loyal Twitter followers, Dante’ Steel, had a great idea last night during the draft.
Umenyiora played defensive end in the Giant’s 4-3 attack and would serve the Cowboys well at the same position in the 3-4, but might also make a great nose tackle in Dallas’ 3-4 scheme. He’s undersized as a traditional 3-4 nose tackle, but has the strength and quickness to make up for it and is capable of playing all positions on the defensive line in any scheme. The Cowboys are looking to move Jay Ratliff from tackle to end, but need a viable replacement in the middle. Umenyiora is shorter, lighter and quicker than Ratliff – he has the perfect size and skill set to play nose tackle for the Cowboys.
Imagine Ratliff on the end; he’s 6’4″ and 290 lbs., so he has the build of a 3-4 defensive end and he’s as quick as a cat. He could slide down to the end and replace Kenyon Coleman while youngster Sean Lissemore challenges Jason Hatcher for the other end spot. Meanwhile, Umenyiora could wreak havoc in the middle or replace the other three players on the other end and make the Cowboys’ defense click the way Rob Ryan envisioned it when he came to Dallas last year.
Why Umenyiora? Why the Cowboys’ rivals? Umenyiora wants out of New York and has for two years now. What better way to motivate a guy than to bring him to play against his former team, one that has been Dallas’ kryptonite over the past few years?
Umenyiora is in the final year of his contract with the Giants and New York has failed to sign him to a new long-term contract, even though he’s asked for one during the past two seasons.
“I would think the Giants think I wouldn’t be back after this year, so if they’re going to get something for me, now would be the time to do it,” Umenyiora said.
And now is the time for Dallas to start looking to trade Jenkins (the Cowboys have already placed him on the trading block, according to ESPN’s Rumor Central), even though he’s not the worst cornerback on the roster. Jenkins is also in the final year of his contract and is looking for a new long-term deal. The Giants need help in the secondary and the Cowboys need help on the defensive line, so why not make an even swap for two players who will demand a high dollar on the free agent market this time next year?
Umenyiora is 30 while Jenkins is 27, so age isn’t a real factor in the deal. The Cowboys would be willing to give Umenyiora the long-term contract he’s seeking and the Giants would do the same for Jenkins, who would significantly improve their secondary. It makes sense all the way around and Umenyiora could be the difference in two victories for the Cowboys in each of the next few seasons. You better believe the two-time Pro Bowler would play lights out against the Giants twice a year for Dallas. Make the move, Jerry.