Anthony Spencer sure did pick the best possible time to have the greatest season of his six year career. It’s funny how that tends to happen in a player’s “contract year,” or in this case, for Spencer, his first year playing under the franchise tag (2012).
Anthony Spencer more than lived up to the 8.8 million dollar billing he received in 2012. That 8.8 million paid for 106 combined tackles, which led the team, and a career high 11.0 sacks. His sacks proved to be crucial as well, as seven of his eleven sacks occurred in the 4th quarters of games.
His moments of suspended brilliance finally caught up to him in 2012. We saw flashes of that brilliance in 2009 and even in 2011, BOTH of which, he put up 6.0 sacks which was his previous high for single season sacks prior to 2012.
If there was a statistic for an “almost sack,” Spencer might have been putting up DeMarcus Ware like numbers prior to 2012. If you are even an avid Cowboys fan, you know exactly what I’m talking about!
Further proving Spencer’s worth; here is where the linebacker ranked in several key categories last season after playing in only 14 games (missing two games due to injury) all leading up to his first career Pro Bowl selection.
Forced Fumbles – 2nd on the team
Quarterback Pressures – 2nd on the team
Tackles for Loss – 2nd on the team
Combined Tackles – 1st on the team
Sacks – 2nd on the team right behind you know who
And now for the second consecutive season, Spencer has been “tagged” under the franchise label, although this year (2013) his pay will increase by almost 2 million dollars. However, after the season he just had, in which arguably he was the best defensive player on the team, the Cowboys were almost forced to do so.
The Cowboys just beat Monday’s deadline to franchise Spencer, but doing so simply will not guarantee that Spencer will be wearing a star on his helmet in 2013. Franchising Spencer, however, WILL guarantee that the team wearing that star will indeed receive adequate compensation if Spencer does play elsewhere in 2013.
That’s the good news!
Being under the franchise label will also mean Spencer will now NOT be an unrestricted free agent come next Tuesday (March 12th, the start of veteran free agency).