Ever since the Dallas Cowboys hired Monte Kiffin to run his Tampa 2 scheme on defense, one of the biggest questions surrounded Pro Bowl linebacker Anthony Spencer. Would the Cowboys be keep Spencer by signing a long-term contract, use the franchise tag again or allow him to become a free agent?
We all found out the answer today when the Cowboys used their franchise tag on Spencer for a second consecutive year. For now, Spencer will count for just over $10.6 million towards the salary cap but the team is hoping to sign him to a long-term contract and designating him as their franchise player gives them time to do get a contract done.
Tagging Spencer was a step in the right direction for the Cowboys but the ultimate goal should be to sign him to a new contract. With Spencer back for the Cowboys, the Dallas defensive line appears to be set with Spencer at one end and DeMarcus Ware at the other, along with defensive tackles Jay Ratliff and Jason Hatcher. That is a formidable group and the Cowboys should be able to keep the unit fresh with substitutes Tyrone Crawford and Sean Lissemore getting plenty of playing time as well.
Getting Spencer back was a huge move for the Cowboys because he was their best defensive player last year. The pass rushing duo of Spencer and Ware, who should be healthy in 2013, should scare the heck out of any offense and the Cowboys have a legitimate front four to play with in their new 4-3 alignment. The move shouldn’t take the Cowboys out of the running to select a defensive lineman in the first round of the draft but it does allow them some flexibility when they’re on the clock.
Last year when the Cowboys placed their franchise tag on Spencer there was plenty of criticism over the move, but somehow I don’t think it’ll get the same reaction this time around. Dallas made a smart move in franchising Anthony Spencer and the talk should now center on signing Spencer to a long-term contract.
Baby steps Cowboys fans, baby steps.
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