NFL News: Dallas Cowboys Declines Option On CB Morris Claiborne

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IN PHOTO: Sep 21, 2014; St. Louis, MO, USA; Dallas Cowboys cornerback Morris Claiborne (24) gives thanks after intercepting a pass during the second half against the St. Louis Rams at the Edward Jones Dome. The Cowboys defeated the Rams 34-31. REUTERS/Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports

The Dallas Cowboys have declined a fifth-year option on Morris Claiborne's contract and the cornerback will become a free agent after the 2015 season of the National Football League, or NFL. The move means that the Cowboys will not be paying Claiborne $11 million for the 2016 season if they decided to pick up the team option and will risk losing him to other teams via free agency.

Claiborne, who was the sixth overall pick in the 2012 NFL Draft, has played the last three years with the Cowboys but missed 12 of 16 games in the 2014 season due to a knee injury.

The deadline for NFL teams to decide on team options was last Sunday and joining Claiborne as free agents in 2016 are Bruce Irvin, outside linebacker for the Seattle Seahawks and Doug Martin, running back for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

Before being hurt, which also included hamstring injuries, in the 2013 and 2014 seasons, Claiborne showed promise as a rookie in 2012 when he was credited 55 tackles. Claiborne was a prized recruit from the Louisiana State University Tigers and was named the Southeastern Conference, or SEC Defensive Player of the Year in 2011 and a member the SEC First Team and the All-American squad the same year.

The Cowboys selected Bryon Jones from Connecticut in the recent NFL draft for it’s first round selection or 27th overall. Jones plays the same cornerback position as Claiborne. Claiborne will have the entire season to prove his worth before he hits free agency but will have to get healthy first as he is still struggling with a torn patellar tendon in his left knee that kept him out for most of the 2014 season.

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