By Clarence E. Hill Jr.
Irving _ Owner Jerry Jones feels a sense of urgency that window is closing on the Cowboys and he wants to win now.
He said as much in the offseason.
Jones put his words into action in agreeing to a four-year/$16.4 million deal with former LSU standout cornerback Morris Claiborne on Monday.
It includes a $10.3 million signing bonus and an option for a fifth season, sources said.
But there is no offset language in the contract _ the only point of contention in negotiations and the only reason the sixth-overall pick hadn’t signed earlier.
In the end, the Cowboys decided it was more important to have Claiborne in camp and ready to go on time than to hold their ground on contract language, a source said
Offset language gives a team the ability to cut a player and have compensation that is guaranteed for the first four years of the contract be "offset" by what the player makes if re-signed by another team. Without "offset" language, the player is paid the guaranteed salary for, say, a fourth season and paid by his new team. He essentially gets to double dip.
The Cowboys traditionally put offset language in their contracts. They did so last year with tackle Tyrone Smith, picked ninth overall out of Southern Cal.
But with all of this year’s the top ten signing deals so far without offset language, the Cowboys were forced to blink in their standoff with Claiborne and his agent Buss Cook.
According to a source, the Cowboys are confident Claiborne will live up to his expectations and believe if doesn’t pan out they will have bigger problems than worrying about offset language.
He is expected to start at right cornerback in a revamped Cowboys secondary opposite free agent signee Brandon Carr who signed a five-year, $50.1 million contract to come over from the Kansas City Chiefs.
Claiborne is the last of the rookie draft picks to sign a contract. The good news is he will be ready to go when the Cowboys open training camp rookies and select veterans on Wednesday at the team’s Valley Ranch training complex for three days prior to the official camp opening in Oxnard, Calif. on Sunday.
That Claiborne missed minicamp and organized team activity workouts because of wrist surgery prior to the draft made it even more imperative that he be in camp on team. His wrist is fully healed and has been cleared for all activities _ although he may wear a protective brace for precaution.