By Matthew Postins
The rumors of Anthony Spencer’s demise with the Dallas Cowboys were apparently greatly exaggerated.
The Cowboys used their franchise tag on Spencer for the second straight year on Monday, but it may end up leading to a long-term contract.
Jordan Woy, Spencer’s agent, tweeted the following on Monday: “Dallas Cowboys will franchise tag Anthony Spencer for 2nd year in a row. We will work on long term deal.”
Spencer was to be a free agent next week. By tagging Spencer on Monday the Cowboys committed to a salary of $10.6 million for next season, though a long-term deal would allow the Cowboys to lower Spencer’s cap figure.
The Cowboys restructured several contracts last week to get below the $123 million salary cap for 2013. On Monday they also released safety Gerald Sensabaugh. The Cowboys likely are not done restructuring contracts or releasing players, as the Cowboys probably don’t have enough cap savings yet to accommodate Spencer’s new salary.
At 6-foot-3, 250 pounds, Spencer projects as a defensive end in the new 4-3 scheme to be implemented by defensive coordinator Monte Kiffin. However, Spencer’s size does not fit the mold of the left defensive ends Kiffin has previously employed in the scheme. Kiffin prefers those players to be bigger. But the Cowboys now control Spencer’s rights and can keep him, sign him to a longer deal or even trade him.
The release of Sensabaugh, who has started at safety the past four seasons, will save Dallas approximately $1.4 million in cap space. Sensabaugh was to make $3 million in base salary in 2013. But by cutting Sensabaugh, the Cowboys have made finding a new starting safety a clear need during free agency or the draft.
Over the weekend the Cowboys signed restricted free agent center Phil Costa to a two-year contract for $2.7 million.