Anthony Spencer is likely in his last season with the Dallas Cowboys. According to Tim MacMahon of ESPN Dallas, the defensive end has "made precious little, if any," progress on a long-term deal with the organization, and the two sides have ended negotiations with two weeks left until the July 15 deadline for franchise players to sign contract extensions.
Spencer was handed the team's franchise tag for a second consecutive year this offseason. Though the Cowboys are apparently willing to part with Spencer's $10.6 million franchise value this season, they would like to pay him much less on a yearly basis. The Cowboys reportedly believe that Spencer's market value is closer to the $5 million per season Cliff Avril received from the Seattle Seahawks than the roughly $8 million per season Spencer is asking.
Spencer recorded 11 sacks last year as an outside linebacker in defensive coordinator Rob Ryan's 3-4 defensive scheme. This year, the Cowboys are switching to a 4-3 designed by Monte Kiffin, and Spencer will be spending most of his time playing with a hand on the ground as a defensive end. How Spencer handles the transition remains to be seen. He will be able to spend less time dropping into pass coverage and more time going after the quarterback, but opposing offenses may also be able to key on him more easily.
Spencer will become an unrestricted free agent after the 2013 season unless a long-term deal can be worked out at the last minute. It would cost the Cowboys over $15 million in 2014 to tag Spencer for a third year in a row.