Maybe lost in all the Dez Bryant news from Monday was the Dallas Cowboys did not offer Anthony Spencer a new contract and he will play out his 1-year franchise tender for $8.8 million. The Cowboys are willing to let this season play and continue to evaluate Spencer’s play for another season.
Spencer has bever been what Cowboys fans have wanted, which is a great pass rusher opposite of DeMarcus Ware but I think he’s been very underrated. Perhaps no other Cowboys player, Tony Romo aside, do the fans have a harder time figuring out than Anthony Spencer. One week he’s outstanding, the next he’s almost invisible. Even Spencer has admitted that he hasn’t done the best job focusing all the time.
For all his faults as a pass rusher, which is what the Cowboys drafted him to do, Spencer is an outstanding run stopper. Spencer is maybe the best run stuffing outside linebacker in the game. It’s not sexy and it’s not what gets headlines but stopping the run it is an extremely important part of the game. In the past three seasons, Spencer leads all outside linebackers in tackles with 185.
It’s just not what the fans want to see from Anthony Spencer. They want to see him with double digit sacks and be a compliment DeMarcus Ware. The goal was for offenses to pay more attention to Spencer and give Ware less blockers to deal with. We all know that it hasn’t worked out that way but Spencer is an integral part of this defense and he’s great at what he does.
Despite what we you read and hear about Spencer as a pass rusher, know according to the Cowboys, Spencer ranked 4th in the NFL when you add up his hits, pressures and sacks. I know the deal is to get sacks but pressures and hits do add up over a game and can lead to incompletions and turnovers. Also know that Spencer led the team in forced fumbles with four and tied for the team lead in tackles for a loss with eight.
There has been a lot of talk about him being an average player. He’s not. He’s a very good player who just needs a few more things to go right in order for him to have the number of sacks that will get you to notice him more. Will that come with improved secondary play? Perhaps. We’ll see this year if that will be the case.
Does Anthony Spencer deserve a new contract despite never having more than six sacks in a season, that’s the question for the Cowboys? They bought themselves another year by putting the franchise tag on him and drafting Kyle Wilber as a possible replacement so the Cowboys are covering all their bases. Spencer and the Cowboys will now have to wait and see how the year plays out before they decide on agreeing to a new deal or going in a new direction.