The Spencer franchised thread got huge so I decided to write this up. "Perception is reality" is a popular saying, but the problem is that everyone has their own perceptions. That's the biggest reason we're so divided on the tagging of Spencer. My perception?
Wow. The act of franchising Anthony Spencer has sent some people off the deep end. "Same 'ol Cowboys"..."Same 'ol Jerry"..."I thought things were changing, but guess not". Good Lord. I understand wanting to stand by your point, but not to the point where it turns into stubbornness and refusal to look at all aspects of the situation. There are people that refuse to grasp the fact that Spencer hasn't been paid a dime yet.
In the Spencer is franchised post, I kept seeing people mad because this move kills the cap. No, it doesn't. Tagging does not impact the cap until he signs the contract and he's not going to sign it for a few months. He wants a long term deal. He wants future security. If he signs this and suffers a career ending injury, his days of earning millions are over. The tag is more of a stalling tactic by the Cowboys. They now can see who is cut/let go that may be a better option and if there's a better option than Spencer, they'll pull the tag. They can see who falls to them in the draft and if someone's there they like enough to start, they'll pull the tag. If nothing happens, the Cowboys can see where their cap situation is at and if they can afford to keep him for one year after they sign other FAs, then do it and it doesn't hurt the team. If they decide they want him and they'd rather give him a long term contract for less than the franchise tag, they can do that too. It's all about flexibility and options.
What happens if the tag wasn't used? Spencer goes and we're looking at starting Albright or Butler. Anyone saying that is a better scenario than tagging Spencer and having time to weigh options is seriously letting their hate cloud things. I like Butler, I do, but he's a role player. That's all he is. The coaches have seen him for a few years now. He hasn't shown enough for them to let Spencer walk. That should tell you all you need to know about him. Don't watch him come on the field in the middle of a game, totally fresh, and think he's great because he makes a play. In previous posts we see that his production ratio is similar to Spencer's, but Spencer plays the whole game. If Butler's production is similar to Spencer when he's fresh, you can't believe it'll be better when he's tired. Albright? Please don't say you're ok with giving this guy a shot to start. And if you think you'd get a decently priced free agent, well, who? Who is out there that will put up 6-8 sacks, multiple forced fumbles, can defend the run and pass? I'm not saying Spencer is the second best OLB in the game, but who's the great alternatives out there? A draft pick? Great. Now that Spencer is gone, we can't go BPA. We have to get an OLB in the draft and we'll probably need to reach for one or trade up for one. I don't like either of those plans.
Spencer had 8 tackles for loss to go along with his 6 sacks and four forced fumbles. That's not stellar, but it's not too bad for a #2 guy who had very little pass rushing help coming from the d-line. Yes, Ware got 19 1/2 and draws a lot of attention. However, he's a future HOFer and is the best in the game. We hear about a second round rookie may be a 6-8 sack producer and it sounds good, yet 6 from Spencer doesn't. Let's say a rookie gets 7 sacks in his first year, but ends up being bad against the run and allows huge gains all year. Maybe he can't cover as well as Spencer and gives up more huge gains. Suddenly one or two extra sacks don't mean much.
One last piece that's being overlooked. Spencer doesn't miss many games. Who's to say if someone, with probably lesser talent based on who's available, won't be more injury prone. An injury would leave us starting someone like Albright. And no, I'm not trying bashing Albright, but I don't believe anyone thinks he's capable of starting in 2012.
Overall, I can understand the complaints. I get it. This is Almost Anthony. People think this is sending a message to the team that you can be average and get paid well. The perception from some fans is that he's average at best. However, the perception from the coaches and his teammates appears to be different. Ware stuck up for him and called for him to be brought back. Ware wants a ring and he's not going to ask for a player to be brought back who he doesn't feel deserves it. He didn't sing the praises of Spears when he was allowed to walk.
So I have to trust the guys who are battling with him and think this is a good move.
I'm not saying I'm right for thinking like this and anyone who disagrees is wrong. Everyone perceives things differently and this is my perception.