In one of the less surprising moves on franchise tag deadline day, the Dallas Cowboys have not reached an extension with Anthony Spencer, who will play under the franchise tender for the second straight season.
The Cowboys have never shown legitimate interest in keeping Spencer for the longterm. They franchised him in 2012, agreeing to pay him about $8.8 million. The NFL puts a pretty steep disincentive on bringing a player back for a second year under the franchise tag, hiking up the player's already high compensation for the previous year 20 percent, but the Cowboys didn't mind, agreeing to pay him $10.6 million for the upcoming year.
The 29-year-old Purdue product showed some interest in reaching a longer deal, but as Blogging the Boys wrote at the time, that was never a particularly likely option. Negotiations broke off in late June, and with a contract extension officially off the table and a third franchise tag prohibitively expensive, it seems this will be Spencer's last year in Dallas.
Spencer, a first-round draft pick in 2007 and first-time Pro Bowler this past year, will move from outside linebacker to defensive end in Monte Kiffin's 4-3 defense. Combined with Demarcus Ware, the Cowboys will have one of the most fearsome pass-rushing combinations in the NFL. Ware racked up 11.5 sacks, tied for ninth most in the league, while Spencer had 11 sacks last year, tied for 14th most. It's tough for offensive linemen to slow down either, let alone both. But the 31-year-old Ware has always been the more important player for the Cowboys, and he's under contract for another three seasons, raking in $27 million in salary between 2014 and 2015.