Cornerback Mike Jenkins signed with the Oakland Raiders, according to Adam Schefter of ESPN late Monday night. Jenkins is being brought in on a one-year deal, as reported by NFL.com. Details on his compensation have not yet leaked out.
Jenkins had visited multiple teams in free agency, including the Raiders, Jacksonville Jaguars and Buffalo Bills. It was reported earlier in the offseason that Jenkins was going to end up wherever he could land a multi-year contract, but given that he signed this one-year deal, it's likely that he is hoping to have a big year in anticipation of hitting the market again in 2014.
A first-round pick in 2008, Jenkins figured to be a big part of Dallas' plans at the position, especially after his Pro Bowl appearance in 2009. Unfortunately, he's slowed down and was hampered by injury in 2012, leading the Cowboys to make multiple moves to replace him. The team added Morris Claiborne in last year's draft and gave Brandon Carr a big contract.
In other words, Jenkins wouldn't have been a starter for the Cowboys if he remained with the team, but most regard him as a starter still. Provided he can stay healthy, there's always a chance he can return to his Pro Bowl form, and that's something the Raiders have been missing from the secondary for some time.
Oakland had one of the better secondaries in the NFL right up until Nnamdi Asomugha, then the best cornerback in the league, departed for the Philadelphia Eagles. Since then, the Raiders have been unable to find a fitting replacement and have bounced around with somewhat mediocre cornerbacks like Joselio Hanson and Shawntae Spencer.
But it does appear that the Raiders are taking the position seriously going forward. Jenkins is the second recent signing in the secondary, following the contract for Tracy Porter. That's two starting-caliber cornerbacks, and by bringing back Phillip Adams, the Raiders have satisfied both starting positions and the nickel corner slot.
Unfortunately, Porter comes with injury concerns, as he's never played more than 14 games in a single season, and has played in 12 or fewer four times. If the Raiders and their rebuilt secondary, which looks much better than it did a year ago, don't have things go jut right, there could be serious issues with one or both of their injury-prone corners.
Still, the team had very little cap room to work with and went out to sign two starting corners, both of whom are well respected when healthy, and that's the kind of quality move the Raiders need to become known for to turn things around.