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Dallas Cowboys linebacker Anthony Spencer will not be signing a long-term deal prior to the July 16 deadline for franchise players to ink contract extensions.
The Dallas Cowboys are nearing a deal with free agent LB Dan Connor, according to several reports. Connor has played for the Carolina Panthers the last four seasons. The Cowboys also signed S Brodney Pool
Connor visited the Cowboys earlier this week. He was reportedly drawing interest from the Philadelphia Eagles, too. He gained a starting role in Carolina last season when Jon Beason went down with an injury and he had a decent year registering 75 tackles and one forced fumble in 15 appearances and 11 starts. He would be reunited with Sean Lee on the Cowboys linebacker depth chart. Both played in college at Penn State. Connor was originally the Panthers third round pick in the 2008 NFL draft.
Pool played the last two seasons with the New York Jets. He also has experience with defensive coordinator Rob Ryan from their days in Cleveland.
Connor and Pool join a Cowboys free agent class that is currently headlined by CB Brandon Carr and QB Kyle Orton.
On Tuesday the Dallas Cowboys cut CB Terence Newman and on Wednesday they signed his replacement. According to ESPN, the Cowboys signed CB Brandon Carr to a five-year, $50.1 million contract. Carr was a free agent after spending four seasons with the Chiefs. He was among the top cornerbacks on the market.
Carr was drafted by the Chiefs in the fifth round of the 2008 NFL draft. He started as a rookie and hasn't missed a start since. He's only 25 years old so he'll be hitting free agency again as he hits 30 years old.
The Cowboys pass defense was 23rd in the NFL last year. Replacing Newman with Carr is a solid upgrade.
Already equipped with one of the league's best tight ends, the Dallas Cowboys opted not to re-sign Martellus Bennett and allow him to hit free agency. After one day as a free agent, Bennett has signed with the division rival Cowboys. It's a one-year deal worth $2.5 million.
Bennett was the Cowboys second round pick of the 2008 NFL draft but he wasn't going to move ahead of Jason Witten on the Cowboys roster.
Bennett is big (6'7" and 248 pounds) and athletic so I think he could be a decent option in the Giants offense.
The Dallas Cowboys have a new quarterback. Actually, a new backup quarterback. ESPN reports that the Cowboys have signed free agent Kyle Orton to a three-year contract. This will make him the primary backup to Tony Romo.
That the Cowboys were interested shouldn't be a big surprise. They were one of the teams that issued a waiver wire claim on him last year when the Denver Broncos waived him.
Orton is a high-end backup, low-end starter in this league. He has the tools to step in and contribute quickly from a backup position but he's probably not the guy you want as your No. 1 quarterback. He performed well in his final three starts of the 2011 season with the Kansas City Chiefs.
Orton was also drawing interest from the Chiefs and Washington Redskins.
The Dallas Cowboys missed out on CB Nnamdi Asomugha last year but they're determined not to miss out on one of the top cornerbacks in the 2012 NFL free agency period. According to various reports, CB Brandon Carr is visiting the Cowboys.
Dallas released CB Terence Newman on Tuesday so connecting Carr to Dallas was easy. Outside of CB Cortland Finnegan, who signed with the Rams, Carr might be the No. 1 cornerback on the market right now. He would immediately make the Cowboys defense better.
The San Francisco 49ers are also said to have interest in Carr.
By several accounts, the Cowboys are the favorite and some expect this to get done. Carr isa 26-year old cornerback who has started every game since the Kansas City Chiefs made him a fifth round pick in the 2008 NFL draft.
Jerry Jones, owner of the Dallas Cowboys, said a few weeks ago that the team has to get better in the secondary. Part of that will likely be adding a cornerback in free agency but it also includes the release of Terence Newman. According to ESPN Dallas, the Cowboys released Newman.
He was due $6 million in 2012 and his play had dropped significantly as of late. He was a prime candidate to be released, especially now that the Cowboys will be losing some salary cap space.
Newman had been in Dallas since they made him a first round pick in the 2003 NFL Draft. He now joins a somewhat weak cornerback in free agency.
The Cowboys have been connected to the top cornerbacks in free agency, including Brandon Carr and Cortland Finnegan, so this can't come as a complete shock. Newman is 33 years old but he'll get another shot someplace.
The Dallas Cowboys went 8-8 in 2011 and missed out on making the playoffs when they were defeated by the New York Giants, who went on to win the Super Bowl, in the last game of the season. The major areas of need for the Cowboys heading into the 2012 season are in the secondary and on the offensive line. Luckily for the Cowboys, both positions they need are somewhat deep and talented in this year's free agency class.
The biggest-named player likely leaving the Cowboys in 2012 is wide receiver Laurent Robinson, who had a great season in 2011 as Miles Austin's replacement when the veteran receiver was injured. There are plenty of teams looking to boost their group of receivers and teams like the Patriots, Rams or the Bengals could be interested in Robinson. Anthony Spencer, DeMarcus Ware's pass-rushing partner, was set to become a free agent, but the Cowboys used their franchise tag on him.
When it comes to players that the Cowboys could bring to Dallas, Brandon Carr and Cortland Finnegan could be targeted as new starting cornerbacks, and Ben Grubbs or Carl Nicks could be targeted to shore up the interior offensive line, opening holes for the running game and keeping Tony Romo off his back. The Cowboys don't have a ton of money to spend but they likely have enough to make a big signing or two.
For more free agency updates, go to SB Nation's Cowboys blog, Blogging the Boys.
The Dallas Cowboys had one potential candidate for the franchise tag and it looks like they'll use it. According to NFL Network's Jason La Canfora, the Cowboys have placed the franchise tag on linebacker Anthony Spencer. The franchise tag number for linebackers is in the neighborhood of $9 million, which means Spencer, if he signs his franchise tender, will have a one-year fully guaranteed contract for that amount.
The two sides will continue to work on a long-term deal.
Spencer probably isn't the player the Cowboys thought they would get when they picked him with the 26th overall pick in the 2007 NFL draft but he's not someone they want to lose. He took over the starting role when Greg Ellis was released and plays opposite of all-world linebacker DeMarcus Ware.
The deadline to assign the franchise tag comes at 4 p.m. ET on Monday, March 5.
The early news out of the Kansas City Chiefs camp regarding their impending free agents was that the team would be choosing whether to put the franchise tag on cornerback Brandon Carr or wide receiver Dwayne Bowe. Following the Chiefs' signing of cornerback Stanford Routt, it now seems like a given that Bowe will be tagged by the team, allowing Carr to hit the open market.
Sources have said the Cowboys would love for Chiefs CB Brandon Carr to hit the open market, so they can make a run at him. The expectation is that the Chiefs could franchise Carr and are said to be in fine cap shape, but they also have WR Dwayne Bowe to worry about. If Carr somehow makes it to March 13 unsigned, expect the Cowboys to go all in for him and worry about a high-profile guard (Carl Nicks or someone else) thereafter.
As Thorman notes, any Dallas interest is going to drive up the price for Carr. It appears as though the cornerback could be in for a lucrative free agency.
The Dallas Cowboys have had a top-flight tight end for years in Jason Witten. His backup, 25-year-old Martellus Bennett, is an impending free agent in March. Bennett has not been a favorite of many Cowboys fans during his time with the team, but he may suddenly be finding himself with a number of suitors if he should hit the open market on March 13.
Rob Phillips at the official Cowboys website reports that with Jermichael Finley being re-signed by the Green Bay Packers and the Washington Redskins likely to apply the franchise tag to Fred Davis, Bennett could become the youngest and most talented tight end on the market this year.
There will definitely be teams looking to beef up their depth at that position and there is the further chance that Bennett will be given an opportunity to shine as the starting tight end for a team in need.
Free agent linebacker Anthony Spencer could receiver the franchise tag from the Dallas Cowboys, according to a report.
Free agency doesn't start until March 13 but we already have a name on the market generating interest -- CB Stanford Routt. The Oakland Raiders released him on Thursday and already he has two visits scheduled with the Buffalo Bills and Tennessee Titans.
The Chiefs have a cornerback, Brandon Carr, scheduled for free agency, but they want to keep him. The Cowboys interest in Routt is interesting when you consider Terance Newman's role on the team. ESPN Dallas says he could be released to save cash.
Routt signed a five-year deal with the Raiders last year before getting released on Thursday.
For more on the Raiders' off-season moves, pay attention to Silver And Black Pride.
The Dallas Cowboys always seem to be on the verge of great things but never quite get there. 2011 was much of the same with the team finishing 8-8 and losing in the final game of the season to the eventual division-winner and Super Bowl champion New York Giants. With a win, it would have been the Cowboys in the playoffs instead of the Giants, and who knows what could have happened?
The Cowboys enter the 2012 off-season with 52 players under contract and seven players who are either exclusive rights or restricted free agents. Linebacker Anthony Spencer, wide receiver Laurent Robinson and punter Mat McBriar are among the Cowboys' 11 unrestricted free agents.
Here is a full list of free agents, courtesy of Mac's Football Blog.
Exclusive Rights Free Agents (4)
RB Chauncey Washington
WR Jesse Holley
OT Jermey Parnell
DE Clifton Geathers
Restricted Free Agents (3)
QB Chris Greisen
FB Tony Fiammetta
WR Kevin Ogletree
Unrestricted Free Agents (11)
RB Sammy Morris
WR Laurent Robinson
TE Martellus Bennett
OG Derrick Dockery
OG Montrae Holland
LB Bradie James
LB Anthony Spencer
CB Alan Ball
CB Frank Walker
S Abram Elam
P Mat McBriar
For more on the Dallas Cowboys, visit Blogging The Boys.