The Dallas Cowboys decided that they didn't want to enter the free agent "conversation" period with only two active safeties in the fold. Today, they tendered Restricted Free Agent Danny McCray for a one-year deal of $1.323 million.
McCray is a special teams ace for the team and is also a backup safety. Due to the myriad injuries that the team suffered on defense in 2012, McCray was pressed into starter duty as opposed to his intended backup role as a hybrid LB-safety in specific situations. He didn't fare very well and drew the ire of many fans.
McCray's value as a ST ace cannot be denied, however. He had double digit tackles on teams in both 2010 and 2011, and would have if his role in the defense hadn't demanded more attention (ending the year with 7).
McCray being tendered as an RFA means that Dallas has the right of first refusal should another club want his services and offers him a contract. If he does sign with another team, the club will receive no compensation because he was an undrafted player and was tendered at the lowest level "original draft status".
On the flip side of that is Anthony Spencer, a first-rounder when he joined the club. Today, his agent announced they will sign the franchise offer for one-year $10.6 million next week. Jordan Woy has indicated that he and the club will now work to see if they can agree to a long-term deal for Spencer.
If so, Dallas can possibly gain some additional space against the cap. With no signing bonus, the $10.6 million is currenly all base salary and therefore all part of the 2013 cap figure. If a long-term deal is reached, Dallas will obviously hold onto the 29-year old DE longer, but also will lower the cap number for this year because the signing bonus will be prorated over the length of the deal.
That of course comes with the caveat that Spencer will be on the books for 2014 and likely beyond. Whether that is in the team's best interest is up for another round of heated debates. The club still does have the option of trading Spencer, since there is no bonus they would not be hit with any dead money. Currently, indications are that Dallas isn't looking to deal him but during this time period you can never tell if a team is telling the truth or working the media.