Talks with linebacker Anthony Spencer about a long-term contract continue, but the Cowboys appear to be ready to take the necessary steps to assure that Spencer remains in Dallas if they don’t come to an agreement.
Calvin Watkins of ESPNDallas.com reports that the team is likely to place the franchise tag on Spencer before Monday’s deadline to use it. The tag would guarantee Spencer a one-year deal worth $8.8 million.
That’s a fairly hefty sum for a player who doesn’t have the difference making pass rushing skills that you look for in a 3-4 outside linebacker. The Cowboys would probably prefer to cut that number down, which actually supports the notion that the Cowboys will use their tag on Spencer. Doing so would buy the Cowboys more time to reach agreement on a longer extension with Spencer without risking another team blowing him away with an offer once the free agent market opens for business.
That’s what happened the two previous times that the Cowboys have used the franchise tag during Jerry Jones’ tenure as owner and de facto general manager. As Watkins points out, Flozell Adams and Ken Hamlin each were tagged before eventually signing longer deals with the team.