May is a weird time in the NFL.
It's beautiful in the sense that hope is as palpable as ever throughout the buildings of all 32 franchises, but it's weird in that players tend to make demands before everything gets seriously rolling on the season.
By now you surely know that Dallas Cowboys Offensive Guard Ronald Leary has requested to be traded to a team that doesn't have a Star on its helmet. I'm not a professional football player, shocking I know, but the idea that someone would want to play for anyone but the Cowboys befuddles me.
Ronald Leary is entitled to want what he wants, and he wants a new home. In all seriousness it's actually semi-understandable that Leary would want out. He's a starting caliber Guard, the Dallas Cowboys have the best Offensive Line in the NFL (the “Space Cowboys” as I've dubbed them), and that elite unit doesn't include Leary as a starter. Whoops.
Think what you want about Leary, we're not here today to discuss the behavioral details of him wanting a trade. The reason I've gathered the class together is actually for a history lesson, specifically on what happened the last time a disgruntled Dallas Cowboy wanted to swap uniforms like Leary does.
You see, situations like this are almost predictable in the NFL. Players like Leary typically want to be traded because new/young blood (La'el Collins in this case) has come in and replaced them, rendering them non-starters on their current team. Someone who experienced this very phenomenon while in blue and silver is cornerback Mike Jenkins.
Why Did Mike Jenkins Even Want To Be Traded?
There are two key dates in the “Mike Jenkins Requests A Trade From The Dallas Cowboys” saga.
March 14th, 2012: Dallas Cowboys sign CB Brandon Carr to a 5-year, $50.1M deal.
This was the writing on the wall for Mike Jenkins. Sure, he was only four years removed from being the 25th Overall Pick by the Cowboys, but he was also four years into a pretty mediocre career. He was also being outplayed by his rookie classmate Orlando Scandrick (who was taken 118 picks after Jenkins, mind you).
Entering the last year of his contract Mike Jenkins was suddenly the fourth most important corner on the Dallas Cowboys roster. Yikes! What's weird though is in his mind, he was the best one on the team. Weird how our brains create such alternate realities, isn't it?
The Cowboys began 2012 OTAs on Tuesday, May 22nd. Jenkins was absent from them as he was seeking a trade away from the organization. Almost four years to the day, Ronald Leary pulled the same move. Cool, huh?
I don't know if Jenkins thought that Dallas would note his absence, look at one another, and freak out in panic because how on earth could they overcome such an obstacle? I mean, it's a wonder that they didn't spend the whole offseason distraught over the move.
What Was The Response By The Front Office To Jenkins And His Trade Request?
Jerry Jones and Co. never blinked in the game of poker after Jenkins shuffled the cards. Mr. Jones had a methodology regarding the situation that we should all really soak in as it will likely be very pertinent to the Leary situation of the same variety.
“We know that we've got a situation where we can identify what we are on defense by having three corners in there a lot I see short-term and long-term with Jenkins. We've also got Scandrick, we got some room if somebody gets nicked not to have to adjust. We can come out there and spend some time really utilizing where we are at corner. The decision to bring Claiborne in was a big part of that. There's no interest on my part at all of trading Jenkins. None.”
No interest on Jerry Jones' part, AT ALL, in regards to trading the player that wanted to be traded. Hmm. Interesting. (strokes goatee).
So you're telling me that the guy who thought he could call the shots lost to Jerry Jones and had to just put up with it, RJ?
Yea. That's the way the story goes. It's a tale as old as time, Beauty and the Beast man.
What Happened To Mike Jenkins, Then?
Mike wised up and started to play the political game a little bit.
He played in 13 games for the Cowboys in 2012 and even started 2 of them. Yay, Mike Jenkins!
At the culmination of the 2012 season the Dallas Cowboys decided that the trio of Carr, Claiborne, and Scandrick gave them enough depth to move on from Mike Jenkins permanently. They chose not to re-sign him and Mike found a home with the Oakland Raiders (where he still lashed out against the Cowboys).
So even though 10 months before they ultimately waved goodbye to him the Cowboys could have gotten some kind of compensation for Mike Jenkins, they chose not to. They liked the depth that he provided at a position group that they, incorrectly for what it's worth, thought was solid.
Doesn't that sound a lot like the Leary situation these days? This O-Line is undoubtedly more solid than the 2012 Secondary, but Leary provides depth in the same light that Jenkins did then. Remember Jerry's quote when asked about Jenkins.
I like Ronald Leary. I really do. But if history is any indication his trade request is going to end just like Mike's. Just like Jenkins was in 2012, Leary is in the last year of his contract with the Cowboys. While that would logically provide motivation to deal him, the Cowboys didn't last time don't seem excited to this time either.