With a premiere player like Morris Claiborne selected as a member of the Dallas Cowboys in the first round and ready to compete for a starting job all the speculation of who Dallas was going to select is dead. That being said I want to rehash the topic of franchise tenders as a kind of change of pace topic. More specifically the latest franchise tendered player Anthony Spencer. Did the Cowboys do the right thing franchising Spencer? Will Spencer get a new deal this season or is he just a stop-gap player for this year?
The franchise tag is always one that brings a lot of argument from many different angles. Most of the time the only thing that is addressed is the negative aspect of a player receiving the tag. I agree with the good majority of people that say the franchise tag usually brings undue drama and speculation that can become disruptive to the team. In turn, things like that can lead to a loss of focus, and ultimately games you should have won turn into unforgettable losses. Now this is not always the case, but more often than not this is how things play out until either the player is given a new contract, or the season ends and the player/team is put out of its misery.
Since I am the eternal optimist, I am going to point out why the Cowboys did the right thing with Spencer this year and why I don’t think the distraction the franchise tag brings is going to outweigh the gain the team is going to get from keeping him on the roster for the season at $8.8 million.
To start things off let me point out the things Spencer does right. He excels at run stopping. He has the ability to get off his block and get to the running back before he gets the corner. He has plenty of ability to get up-field and cause problems for opposing offenses. In a sense we’ve actually only seen this ability during stretches, but none the less he has the god-given talent.
The other thing Spencer has going for him, and this is strictly situational, is he is a somewhat proven commodity with a good number of unproven players around him vying for his position. Now this may change today when the Cowboys are back on the clock, but until then I pose the question, who else is there? Spencer is rarely hurt, shows up ready to play, and from what I’ve seen, doesn’t take plays off. It’s good to know there is someone that is not a liability on the field instead of an unproven player thrown into the fire.
After watching the pre-draft press conference team executive vice president Stephen Jones said that there is a chance that the team and Spencer could reach an agreement on a long-term deal, but nothing is yet to surface. I think the next two of days will most likely determine whether we see such a deal, or if Spencer is doomed to play out his franchise tagged year and hope he gets the long-term deal next year. If the Cowboys select a pass-rushing outside linebacker that can play well in Rob Ryan’s 3-4 scheme, we’ll probably see Spencer out the door at the end of the season. If there are no real additions at the position, then the franchise tag may have been used to buy the team some time. That’s just what I think, and looking back at some of my other predictions, I may be wrong. So hop on the comment section and let the world know what you think. The Cowboys first-round selection goes to show us that anything can happen, so think big and you never know, it could happen.