On Tuesday, it was announced that the Dallas Cowboys and defensive end Anthony Spencer have ended negotiations on a new contract. If both sides don’t agree on a deal before July 15, the 29 year old Spencer – who the Cowboys placed a $10.6 million franchise tag on – will enter the 2013 season as an impending free agent next offseason.
The move to end negotiations now though, and potentially have Spencer play next season in a contract year, is a good thing for the Cowboys.
Spencer is coming off of a career season with the Cowboys, where he finished second on the team with 11 sacks, just a half sack behind DeMarcus Ware‘s team lead. But prior to last season he had been largely a disappointment, tallying 11 sacks total in 2010 and 2011. He is not worth the $10.6 million figure the team franchised him at, but having him potentially playing for a new deal could pay dividends.
Most of the time guys who are playing in a contract year tend to play their best and in some ways overachieve to assure themselves that they get a nice payday in the upcoming offseason. For Spencer, another solid season is essential if he wants to make sure he gets what he wants money-wise next offseason, assuming of course he becomes a free agent. The Cowboys would also benefit given the fact that when they drafted the 6’3 250 pounder out of Purdue they envisioned he and Ware becoming one of, if not the best, tandems in the NFL and a terror for all quarterbacks.
Up until last season, though, that hadn’t happened, and it still really hasn’t. While Spencer had a career year last season, Ware had, by his standards, a down season, recording just 11.5 sacks. And when Ware put up 19.5 sacks in 2011 and 15.5 in 2010, Spencer put up 11 total in those two years. So really, neither have put together great singular seasons at the same time.
The hope would be for the Cowboys that that changes this year, especially if Spencer enters the season without a long-term deal. Playing for a new contract, Spencer would likely have a career year, and Ware, fully healthy from a shoulder injury, would get back to his 15+ sack form.
Normally, the ending of contract negotiations would be a bad thing. But in this case, it could enable Spencer to be great for the Cowboys in 2013. This is one of the rare times when contracts talks ending could turn out to be a good thing.