Here's a quick rundown of stories circulating in the Cowboys arena over the last few days.
The Cowboys have tentative plans to speak with the agent for free agent outside linebacker Anthony Spencer by the end of the week about a possible new contract or to inform him his client will get a franchise tag. The potential discussions between Spencer's agent, Roosevelt Barnes, and the team would be the second in the last week.
There are three likely ways this can go; eventually the sides reach a long-term contract, or the Cowboys franchise tag Spencer, or they let him test the free agent waters. Many people are starting to assume that the Cowboys will franchise Spencer. While I'm not adverse to Spencer returning, I am definitely not in favor of franchise-tagging him. The cost, $8.8 million, is just too high. But, recent deals for linebackers, specifically the one reached by Ahmad Brooks in San Francisco, are helping to set the market. Todd Archer is convinced the Cowboys will franchise Spencer.
San Francisco’s Ahmad Brooks signed a six-year deal with San Francisco worth $7 million a year... Using the same press box stats for fairness to compare the players, Spencer has 266 tackles, 21.5 sacks, one interception, 10 pass deflections and 10 forced fumbles in 53 starts. Brooks has 139 tackles, 20 sacks, one interception, nine pass deflections and seven forced fumbles in 24 starts.... Earlier in the morning I did more than wonder whether Spencer would get the franchise tag. Now I’d almost guarantee Spencer will get the franchise tag.
The other day, Stephen Jones reiterated what was said by Jerry Jones, that the Cowboys would never entertain the idea of trading Tony Romo for either Andrew Luck or Robert Griffin III. They also discussed his future as a life-long Cowboy.
Jones says the only thing to talk about is the numbers, as the eight-year veteran who turns 32 in April is not going anywhere. "Tony is going to play a lot more than two more years," Jones said. "We are going to take care of Tony. Tony is going to be a Cowboy."
Jones echoed owner Jerry Jones, who said over the weekend that he has no interest in starting over with a rookie quarterback. He said he wouldn't trade Romo for Stanford's Andrew Luck or Baylor's Robert Griffin III, the projected top two picks in the 2012 NFL Draft.
But that won't stop stories circulating that the Cowboys could be a mystery suitor for their services, like this one from SI.com.
Dallas Cowboys: As long as we’re throwing darts, we may as well include Dallas, even though Jerry Jones’ son said that his dad is confident in Tony Romo and prefers him over Griffin or Andrew Luck. Dallas has the 15th pick and, in a hypothetical scenario, might be able to swing Romo to a QB-needy team for another first-rounder.
Clarence E. Hill gives his rundown of the needs for the Cowboys offseason, and his bottom line.
The key is getting into the playoffs and then letting the chips fall. As long as they have Romo at quarterback, they will be playoff contenders. Now it’s just a matter of improving the team around him, especially on the offensive line and on defense. The Cowboys can do that.
The Mothership suggests a free agent target we haven't discussed much. Center Samson Satele.
Where Would He Fit: If signed, Satele would more than likely take over as the Cowboys' starting center of the immediate future. Such a move would more than likely push Costa into the role of swing man, making him the backup at both guard and center on game days, but the Cowboys have a few other candidates for that job as well, including 2011 draft picks Bill Nagy and David Arkin. Signing Satele wouldn't necessarily stop the Cowboys from drafting a center early in the next year or two, however. Though he is young and capable, and probably represents an improvement for the Cowboys, most talent evaluators don't consider him an elite player at the position.
A consensus from five guys at NFL.com and the NFL Network is that the Cowboys will take Dre Kirkpatrick. Four out of five think so, with the lone dissenting opinion going with Janoris Jenkins. An example of their thinking.
Reuter: "Terence Newman won't be in Dallas much longer and Kirkpatrick's combine workout showed he has enough speed to stay with NFL receivers. He didn't run agility tests, however, and only weighed 186 pounds, so Dallas may not have a problem picking him up in the mid-first round."