Franchise tag highlights differences between Spencer, Ware


On defense, the Cowboys’ franchise player is linebacker DeMarcus Ware.  This year, however, the organization’s “franchise player” for CBA purposes is linebacker Anthony Spencer.  As Charean Williams of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram explains it, Spencer’s ensuing $8.8 million base salary has resulted in sharp criticism of the man who isn’t DeMarcus Ware.

And for good reason.  Since Spencer arrived in 2007, he has 21.5 sacks,  During those same five years, Ware has 80.

“I listen to all those radio shows on the way home, and when they’re not dog-cussing me, they’re dog-cussing [Spencer],” defensive coordinator Rob Ryan recently said, per Williams.  “The bottom line is:  He’s a damn good football player.  What we asked him to do, he did a great job with.  So if we send him more this year [as a pass-rusher], that will be great.  I know everybody just looks at the bottom line on sacks or wins, and I don’t blame them.  But as a coach, you appreciate a guy like Anthony Spencer because he does the right thing, and he plays hard; he forces fumbles; he still rushes the passer. . . .  I think he’s going to have a great year.”

Spencer realizes that it’s not easy to play with a guy like Ware.

“It’s both a curse and a blessing,” Spencer said regarding the presence of Ware on the other side of the line. “I wouldn’t say it’s a curse [editor’s note:  you just did], but it has its benefits and its non-benefits being across from him, definitely.”

Spencer has signed the franchise tender, putting him under contract for 2012.  The Cowboys have until July 16 to sign Spencer to a long-term deal.  If they don’t, it’ll take $10.56 million to keep him around for 2013.

22 responses to “Franchise tag highlights differences between Spencer, Ware

  1. Sending Spencer and Ware on every play makes your defense too predictable. You need Spencer to drop into coverage some, so that you can mix up the pressure by sending the ILBs and safeties. The man had 8 sacks last year. He may not be an All-Pro, but he’s no scrub.

  2. Rob Ryan is probably the last person who should be listening to sports radio, as he has proven quite easy to goad into saying something stupid.

  3. What is it with the Ryan brothers and their love affairs with overrated linebackers? First, it was Rex and his undying loyalty to Bart “I’m no longer productive” Scott, and now Rob with Anthony “I can’t even wear Demarcus’ underpants” Spencer.

  4. Spencer Ware is both overpaid and underpaid. I wouldn’t say he’s overpaid, but he has his benefits and non-benefits from being paid so much, definitely.

  5. Spencer does what the Cowboys want him to do. He plays strong side linebacker, so he is facing the run most of the time and he does an awesome job of keeping RB’s inside of the tackles. If he isn’t rushing the passer, then he’s covering a tight end or shutting down the flats when a running back sneaks out. And let’s be honest, DeMarcus Ware is the more athletic player, it’s only normal that he has better pass rush numbers.

  6. People tend to forget he’s not used in the same nature as DW. He isn’t that bad of a OLB whatsoever. I think some people may be a little disappointed purely by his sack numbers but also that Dallas gave up some picks to move back into the first round that year to snag him.

  7. Look, playing across from a top tier pass rusher is always a benefit. Problem with fans is none of them are in the huddles and have no idea what responsibilities belong to who on a given play. Until you know the scheme, you can’t have an informed opinion about which players are worth the franchise tender for a team. Spencer has certainly earned his payday, but is better with Ware than without.

  8. Lets see now coming from a cowboy fan and a huge dware fan and someone who knows just a little bit about football. Spencer isn’t the sack machine ware is because spencer plays the run better than ware. He also drops into cover better than ware. in reality if the idiot fans out there want then the cowboys can send him as many times as ware so he can get double digit sacks that’s fine but then ware becomes a liability in coverage his sack drop to the ten to 12 sack range. spencer does what’s asked of him heck now with MLB who can cover they can send spencer more.

  9. Spencer plays the strong side, that involves supressing the run. I always say we dont have the benefit of knowing a players presnap responsibilities, Dallas wouldnt tag him, if he wasnt doing what he was asked to do from a schematic standpoint.

  10. My biggest problem with spencer is he admitted to taking plays off and it shows he takes plays off when he goes the last six games or so without a sack. Granted I don’t know what the cowboys plays are but everyone can see spencer rushing the qb and see the lack of effort trying to get there.

  11. Man some people don’t understand football. Let’s put it this way there is a reason Spencer was always a half second late from getting the Qb and it had nothing to do with him. Teama figured out to get the ball out quickly, why? Because you had Newman or ball out there and the window was always open. Now….put a good CB like Carr or hopefully Claiborne then all of a sudden that closing speed is there and those windows are much tighter. So either the qb takes his chances and tries to squeeze it in there (Which should lead to more pass newsboys or picks) or he has to pull it back down in which case that half second that Spencer Used to be late is now there for him to get the sack/forced fumble and Spencers numbers look even better. Dware will continue being a beast….so this should be a pretty good year for Spencer given the better support on the backend.

  12. Its sort of the same as my Ravens over the same past 5 seasons. Terrell Suggs racks up the sacks and accolades while Jarret Johnson chipped in some pressure but had just as much responsibility setting that strong side against the run and dropping into coverage. I have several friends who are Cowboys fans so I have watched plenty of their games over that same timespan and Spencer is better than the consistently underrated Johnson was here in Baltimore. Its a team sport after all and if he is doing everything the coaches ask of him, I don’t see what the problem is with him making bank, especially since its Jerry Jones footing the bill, not we fans.

  13. Gotta love the want to be football geniuses who feel the need to explain the game of football to people on this blog lol

  14. I’d be the first to admit how much I hate the Cowgirls, but even I know when to admit that Spencer is a great player…….being able to stand out while being on the field with a player like Ware is an accomplishment in itself! This guy always seems to make key plays at big moments, worth every penny! Any fool disagreeing with this move would love to have this guy on their team

  15. steelpalace302 says:
    May 28, 2012 2:56 PM
    Gotta love the want to be football geniuses who feel the need to explain the game of football to people on this blog lol

    Leave it to a steelers fan…

  16. Is there a more overrated, over-reported on team than this sad mediocre Cowboy team?… It’s always the same “they’re one player away” or “their Defense is awesome”, or even more false “Tony Romo is a good qb”…. Spencer is an average player that benefits from playing with the only good player on fat Rob’s D….. I think they come in 4th in the division next year

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