Maybe the Cowboys can pay Mike Jenkins too

FREMONT, Calif. – Carolina's decision to sign running back Jonathan Stewart to a five-year, $36.5 million deal that includes $22.5 million in guarantees is curious on a number of fronts, starting with the fact that the Panthers signed their other runner, DeAngelo Williams, to a five-year, $43 million deal with $21 million guaranteed last summer.

But it got me to thinking about the Cowboys and I understand I’m not comparing apples to apples when looking at the cornerback spot.

Owner and general manager Jerry Jones has said constantly that the Cowboys have enough money to sign Mike Jenkins to a healthy contract extension in the future -- provided Jenkins is healthy in 2012 -- even after shelling out for Brandon Carr, Orlando Scandrick and Morris Claiborne in the last 12 months.

Carr received $25.5 million guaranteed, Claiborne will get $16.26 million and Scandrick’s deal calls for $10 million guaranteed. That’s nearly $52 million in guaranteed coin.

The Panther committed $43.5 million in guaranteed money to guys who will be on the field together for only a handful of snaps a game.

It seems a little odd to pay running backs that kind of money, especially with Cam Newton as the quarterback, but cornerbacks are a different story.

You need all of them you can get with the way the game is played right now, so maybe Jones is correct.

Now it’s up to Jenkins, who has yet to practice because of January shoulder surgery and might miss the season opener, to play well enough in 2012 to force Jones’ hand.