Beset by injuries and the release of a former All-Pro defensive back in a cost-cutting measure, the Oakland Raiders could upgrade their secondary in the coming weeks.
The Raiders may look to add a veteran presence to their 20th-ranked pass defense by signing Cowboys cornerback Mike Jenkins. Oakland has expressed interest in the former 2008 first-round pick, according to Calvin Watkins of ESPNDallas.com.
Jenkins, a sixth-year veteran, fell out of favor in Dallas after the additions of Brandon Carr and Morris Claiborne last offseason. While Jenkins still played in 13 games and started two in 2012, he only received 374 snaps -- by far his least since his rookie year. The former South Florida cornerback could start for a Raiders secondary that lost defensive back Michael Huff and lacks a shutdown corner.
In 2011, Jenkins' final season as a starter, he struggled at times in deep coverage by surrendering four completions of at least 20 yards. Opposing quarterbacks finished with an 88.5 passer rating when targeting Jenkins, including a rating of 127.0 or higher three times according to Pro Football Focus. Jenkins notched just one interception and five pass defenses on the season.
In a depressed market for cornerbacks, few veterans have received lucrative deals in free agency. It is unlikely Jenkins could receive a deal similar to ones given to Saints cornerback Keenan Lewis (five years, $25.5 million) or Chiefs cornerback Sean Smith (three years, $18.0 million). It is more likely Jenkins could receive a contract close to the two-year, $5.25 million deal reached between former Rams cornerback Bradley Fletcher and the Eagles.
Former Raiders cornerback Nnamdi Asomugha, former Redskins cornerback DeAngelo Hall and Falcons cornerback Brent Grimes remain available on the open market. The Raiders are approximately $6.5 million under the salary cap, according to Spotrac.com.
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