Okay, first things first; we have plenty of threads that are open discussing the placement of the franchise tag on Anthony Spencer. That is, of course, the biggest news of the week so far. As a fan, I'm pretty torn on the whole Spencer situation. I'm mad at the Cowboys for not having a single, solid option other than franchising him. I hold a grudge on Spencer, not for his 2011 performance, but for his admission and visual evidence that he barely tried in 2010. I give him one iota of credit for admitting it when others didn't; but don't consider that to be redeeming value.
I think he has talent, I appreciate his run stopping and edge setting, but how does Dallas now claim that his pass rushing would be better if they could remove that responsibility from him. Hello? Why haven't you done that yet? I guess my frustration isn't directed at Spencer, but rather the situation Dallas has put themselves in. This stems from believing, if you have the best pass rusher in the game (Ware), your team pass rush should be better than what Dallas' is. Period.
The franchise tag can be rescinded, should Dallas close in on a more attractive, performance-based or financially, free agent prospect before Spencer and his agent decide to sign the tender. However, knowing Jerry Jones' history of loyalty to a fault, it would seem to go against everything we've seen from this franchise should he actually rescind the offer. I imagine that if it happens early in free agency, it would not be crippling to Spencer's chances at finding a long-term contract elsewhere. If it happens after a week though? That doesn't exactly jive with the Jerry Jones we know, to this point.
In other free agency news, it appears that Dallas has reached out to the agent for Keith Brooking. The Cowboys are thin at inside linebacker too, and this would appear to be a safety valve should the club not be able to find cheap depth in the market.
The lasting memory I have of 36-year-old Keith Brooking from 2011 was being run through and over multiple times on rushing plays; and trailing tight ends and backs on routes. For my money, I hope the club is able to secure the talents of one of the numerous other inside linebacker options on the market. The team needs depth behind Sean Lee and Bruce Carter; but capable depth.
There's plenty of free agent news from around the league that impacts Dallas, as the less players on the market the smaller the pool for the Cowboys to upgrade.
The Kansas City Chiefs placed the franchise tag on WR Dwayne Bowe. This means that CB Brandon Carr, as expected, remains free to negotiate with any team. Reportedly, Carr is the Cowboys' primary target for upgrading the secondary.
Indy resigned DE Robert Mathis. Also over in the AFC, the Baltimore Ravens have released CB Dominque Foxworth from their team. I would probably look at Foxworth in the Frank Walker impact category. He slid way down the Ravens depth chart, but at 29 years old, might not be a bad look for that fourth corner. The Titans tagged S Michael Griffin and New England tagged, then rescinded it, on WR Wes Welker. The Bills inked WR Stevie Johnson to a long-term deal.
Over in the NFC, the Lions gave DE Cliff Avril the non-exclusive tag; meaning he can negotiate with other teams. Should he come up with an offer, the Lions have the chance to match or receive two first-round picks from the signing club. The Giants franchised punter Steve Weatherford, who could have been a Mat McBriar replacement and was my top choice to do just that.
The window for franchise tagging is now closed. However, with the new league year still a week away, don't be surprised to see teams continue to lock down their own talent during these last seven days of exclusive negotiating rights. That will inevitably make Dallas' job a little tougher in trying to fill their holes and enter the draft looking for the best player on the board.