Jerry Jones: Injuries, cap concerns put Cowboys in tough spot at cornerback

Faced with the situation surrounding his cornerbacks, Cowboys owner/general manager Jerry Jones didn’t bother dodging it – things are a bit problematic.

"Mo has created a problematic situation for us," Jones said Saturday in Indianapolis. "Mo didn’t create it, but his circumstances are problematic for us as we approach what we’re doing in the offseason at that position."

Jones was referring to former No. 6 overall draft pick Morris Claiborne, whose torn patellar tendon – suffered in September – is going to sideline him for the foreseeable future. Cowboys coach Jason Garrett said last week that Claiborne won’t be ready for the start of the offseason program and may even miss the beginning of training camp.

That information on its own doesn’t sound too troubling. Unfortunately for the Cowboys, it’s one of several problems. Sterling Moore, who filled in for Claiborne after his injury last season, is about to enter free agency. Moore started seven games at corner and led the team in passes defensed.

Then there’s the well-documented issue with Brandon Carr. The veteran is set to count $12.7 million against the salary cap this year, despite a pair of underwhelming seasons. Carr is the third-most expensive player on the roster, and there has been plenty of speculation that the Cowboys will seek to reduce his salary.

"I’m not going to say too much about that because while we’ve been up here we’ve had discussions with his agent and we’ll see where it goes. I don’t have anything to report there," Jones said Saturday.

Reducing Carr’s salary would free up cap space for other roster moves, but, as Jones was quick to point out, he would have to agree to it. The Cowboys successfully negotiated a lower salary for Doug Free in 2013, but technically there is only one way to guarantee that Carr’s salary is reduced – release him.

Given the limitations at the position, though, it seems logical that the Cowboys would prefer to keep Carr. If they were to part ways with him, then Orlando Scandrick and Tyler Patmon would be their only cornerbacks under contract.

"It will ultimately fit one way or the other for us," Jones said. "But there’s only one part of this thing that could happen that we could do unilaterally. That’s one thing. But to have him playing for us if we have dollar considerations than that takes two of us."

It’s just another scenario that will play out over the next several weeks for this roster. The Cowboys could also decide to pursue other free agents or address the position in the NFL draft. For the time being, it promises to be one of the bigger issues facing this team as the offseason heats up.