Cowboys owner Jerry Jones said that cornerback Morris Claiborne has done enough to justify the team picking up his fifth-year option, according to Brandon George of The Dallas Morning News (on Twitter). The option, of course, would be for the 2016 campaign.
Jones’ endorsement comes as something of a surprise since Claiborne hasn’t lived up to expectations since being selected with the No. 6 pick in the 2012 draft. As a top ten pick, the option for 2016 would be equal to the transition tag for cornerbacks in their fourth year, which should be somewhere around $11MM.
The Cowboys have some time before they have to decide on Claiborne’s fifth-year option and the option is guaranteed against injury only until the start of the 2016 league year, so they could pull the plug in the event of a lackluster 2015. By the same token, it’d be a gamble to trigger his option year given his injury history. Claiborne missed the bulk of the 2014 season with a torn patellar tendon.
All in all, it was a rough year for the once-heralded rookie. Claiborne was torched in Week 3 victory and was subsequently bumped down on the depth chart in favor of veteran Orlando Scandrick. On the following Tuesday, Claiborne lashed back at the Cowboys by skipping practice and leaving the team facility. The following week, Claiborne suffered his season-ending injury.