Dec 9, 2012; Cincinnati, USA; Cincinnati Bengals quarterback Andy Dalton (14) is sacked by Dallas Cowboys outside linebacker Anthony Spencer (93) during the second half at Paul Brown Stadium. The Cowboys won 20-19. Mandatory Credit: David Kohl-USA Today Sports

Will The Dallas Cowboys Use Their Franchise Tag in 2014?

Starting today until Monday, March 3, NFL teams can officially place a franchise tag on a player in order to secure their services for the 2014 season. The Dallas Cowboys placed this tag on defensive end Anthony Spencer for the last two seasons straight. But will they use it once again in this very salary-strapped offseason?

Here’s the list of the current unrestricted free agents for the Cowboys:

Brandon Carter, G
Jon Kitna, QB
George Winn, RB
Brian Waters, OL
Ryan Cook, OL
Anthony Spencer, DE/LB
Jarius Wynn, DE
Jason Hatcher, DT
Edgar Jones, LB
Ernie Sims, LB
Danny McCray, S

Carter, Kitna, Winn, and McCray are expected to simply be allowed to leave. Cook, Wynn, Jones and Sims have the potential to be re-signed at the veteran’s minimum. Waters would be welcomed back, but it’s unsure whether the 37-year old Pro Bowl guard will not just opt to return to retirement after suffering a triceps injury last season.

The two players who Dallas might consider franchise tagging would be Spencer and Hatcher. But it’s unclear whether the Cowboys could actually afford to pay either of them due to their lack of salary cap space. According to, Dallas is currently $24.6 million over the limit. That’s the highest overage of any team in the NFL.

But just how much would it cost to keep either player? According to, here are the single season franchise tag salary amounts for 2014 per each position:

  • Quarterback: $16,086,000
  • Defensive End: $12,475,000
  • Wide Receiver: $11,539,000
  • Cornerback: $11,256,000
  • Offensive Linemen: $11,126,000
  • Linebacker: $10,895,000
  • Defensive Tackle: $9,182,000
  • Running Back: $9,074,000
  • Safety: $8,021,000
  • Tight End: $6,709,000
  • Kicker: $3,383,000

As a franchise tagged player in 2012, Spencer was paid $8.8 million in a Pro Bowl level year. Last season, he was paid $10.6 million and played less than 40 snaps in total. It is unlikely Dallas will fork-out the money required a third time especially considering Spencer is coming off microfracture surgery. Their better option would be to sign a contract with him.

As for Hatcher, the soon-to-be 32 year old is coming off his first Pro Bowl season and looking to cash in. Cowboys vice president Stephen Jones has already stated it is unlikely the Cowboys will use the franchise tag again this season. This means Dallas would have to sign “Hatch” to a contract as well. But I doubt the Cowboys will be willing to pay very much more for his services.

Out of the two players, I could see Spencer getting the financial nod over Hatcher in Big “D”. Spencer is younger (just turned 30) and coming off a major knee surgery that should limit his asking price.

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Tags: Dallas Cowboys Franchise Tag

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