Apparently, the Dallas Cowboys front office and representatives for linebacker Anthony Spencer have called off negotiations on a long-term contract. And both sides seemed pleased to allow this day-time drama play out for yet another year. Spencer, who was franchise tagged last year for 8.8 million, was tagged again this year for a whopping 10.6 million. That number could have been reduced if a long term deal was agreed to. And now, it appears, it wont be.
There are several conclusions that we can now draw from, on both sides, as a result of this decision. The Cowboys obviously do not want to pay Pro Bowl money for Spencer. Although he had a career year last season with 95 tackles, 11 sacks and his first Pro Bowl appearance, Dallas may think that his performance was simply a fluke. Especially when considering the former first round pick had produced moderate to mediocre numbers in his previous five seasons. And how will Spencer now play as a defensive end as opposed to outside linebacker under new defensive coordinator Monte Kiffin? If Spencer takes a step back, Dallas would be on the hook for a ton of dough.
Spencer’s side of this decision is fairly easy to gauge. He proved himself to be a Pro Bowl player last season and he expects to be one in the future. Therefore, his representatives think he should be compensated appropriately. Whether that’s in Dallas next year or not, doesn’t matter as much. Spencer will gladly play out the season for 10.6 million and have this discussion once again next year.
Regardless, both sides seem willing to take the gamble. For Dallas, they lose the added salary cap room a long term contract would have given them for this year and into the next. For Spencer, if he plays well, his stock will be solidified as a Pro Bowl caliber player. If so, Dallas will either fork up the money or let Spencer go elsewhere. But if Spencer doesn’t have a good season, his stock goes down and the Cowboys could lock him up at a reduced rate. As always, the soap opera that is the Dallas Cowboys franchise continues…Spencer, it’s your move.