Gentlemen, start your engines.
Stuck between a rock and a hard place, it appears the Cowboys are going to bite the bullet and commit $8.8 million of their limited cap space to bring outside linebacker Anthony Spencer back into the fold. According to unnamed sources, and officially denied by the team, the Cowboys are "leaning" towards placing the tag on Spencer Monday afternoon, per this DMN report. Clarence Hill from the Star-Telegram, also quoting sources, reports that
the Dallas Cowboys have decided what to do with Anthony Spencer but won't make an official move until this afternoon, the deadline for NFL teams to designate a free agent as a franchise player.
Looks like this will come down to the wire, and if the reports are true, the Cowboys must have considered the risk too great to enter into free agency without a starting caliber player to line up opposite all-world DeMarcus Ware.
Related: How much is Anthony Spencer Worth?
Just because the Cowboys might be placing the tag on Spencer now, doesn't mean that he will assuredly make such a big impact to the cap. If the Cowboys sign Spencer to a multi-year deal, his cap charge for 2012 could drop considerably. For some fans, that might be a more troubling scenario; having Spencer on board for the long haul.
Reports earlier suggested that Dallas was ready to get into the Mario Williams sweepstakes, but a franchise tag for Spencer would undoubtedly put those rumors to bed. A cynic might suggest that Dallas is waiting until the last minute to tag Spencer because they are trying to get some assurances from Williams' agent. But hey, who has time to be a cynic?
Follow the jump for reaction from Spencer on the pending label.
Anthony Spencer spoke to the DMN about the fact that he doesn't appear to be hitting the open market.
"It looks like they are going to put the tag on me,'' Spencer said. "That's a good thing and a bad thing.
"It's good because it shows how much they think of me. But you don't want to be playing on a one-year contract. You want a longer deal and the security that gives your family.
"But hey, I understand. It's a business.''
"I understand what has happened when they have used this before,'' Spencer said.
"I like it here. My preference is to stay with the Cowboys. But my preference is also to have a long-term contract.
"For now, it is what it is.''
So Spencer isn't really happy, I know a lot of folks on this board aren't really happy.
The Cowboys still need to sign a veteran backup to Tony Romo, spend a million plus on tendered RFA Tony Fiammetta, and address Laurent Robinson and the eerie lack of depth at the cornerback position. They also desperately need to upgrade the interior of the offensive line and get some inside linebacker depth as well as a possible safety upgrade.
The conundrum Dallas found themselves in, was entering free agency without a competent Spencer replacement. You have to wonder, how did Dallas fail to address this over the last two seasons, but also allow Spencer to play out his original contract if they felt he was as much of an asset as they've described him to be.
You know the procedure folks, get your vent on.
h/t to djthumpl for the FanShot.