Since I have joined the ranks of the media from my days as a scout in the NFL, I find myself in more debates on the value of a particular player to a team then when I was in the league. I know that sounds funny but it's the truth. I do have the experience of sitting in a draft room and debating whether it was the right thing to give Reggie White $12 million in 1993 or pay La'Roi Glover $6 million in 2002 but it just seems like each passing day we talk more should the Cowboys extend Anthony Spencer or Sean Lee or Dez Bryant?
As we continue to debate these extensions, we tend to find ourselves going back through the recent history of how these extensions have played out for the organization and form our opinions. Just go through some of the names: Marion Barber, Roy Williams, Terrence Newman, Miles Austin, Doug Free and Orlando Scandrick. In the end you have to ask yourself, how did that work out? Austin and Scandrick are currently working through their deals but my assumption is the feeling among fans that the front office was too quick to extend those players. Maybe I am wrong?
There are some extensions that have worked out and smart money was spent on players that lived up to their end of the deal. Jason Witten has done nothing to make me believe that his extension was nothing short of brilliant. DeMarcus Ware despite his times where I thought he disappeared during games proved me poorly mistaken when he could have shut it down last season with serious injuries to try and get this team into the playoffs. Ware was worth every penny this organization paid him last season. There are those of you out there that will question this past extension of Tony Romo, but I won't. During my career, I have been blessed to work with some outstanding quarterbacks on my team but I have also been on teams where we had absolutely no chance because of not having one. In my view, the front office made the right move here because I do see Romo playing at a high level but it is also now on this same front office to find a quarterback to replace him when he is no longer playing at that level.
With all this history in mind, this brings us to Anthony Spencer and his potential extension. As well as he played in 2012, you could make an outstanding case that you would give him a long-term deal. It is also very clear that this current coaching staff which has some serious pull with the general manager has a strong voice in who lines up on this defense feels like he is a great fit in this scheme because he was once again, given the Franchise Tag for the second straight season. That part of the equation I do agree with the coaching staff on, the fit of Spencer in this defense and his ability to play as that strong side defensive end. I do like Spencer as a pass rusher off the edge and paired with Ratliff inside, you will see some pressure off that side.
Now comes the tricky part for the front office, history shows that they have given some great extensions for players that have lived up to them but it also has given them some expensive mistakes. What I know about working with this general manager and the other members of the front office is that they make the best deal they can craft together and live with it. Today, it's difficult to get any of those gentlemen to talk about a deal [embedded_ad] that they wish they had back because at the time they had the conviction that it was the right move to make. The thought process has always been to spend what resources they have and do your best to stay ahead of the curve. It has been creative and sometimes operating in the gray but it has also bit them in the rear.
If I still worked in this front office like I did when we made the Glover deal, I would voice my view to let Spencer play out this deal on the tag and focus on trying to get Sean Lee or Dez Bryant done. At age 29, I'm just not comfortable paying top dollars to a player like that, especially when you already have that guy on the other side. They made the commitment to DeMarcus Ware and for good reason because he will be my dominate defensive linemen in this scheme.
Again, I mentioned how well Spencer played last season and I believe this is a great scheme fit for him but like this front office has seen, this defensive line market is different as in years past. I do not believe you are going to see contracts offered to these ends like you have seen with Mario Williams and Julius Peppers.
Anthony Spencer is getting paid well on this tag and I am fine with that but to extend him at this point and time would be the wrong thing to do. I understand his and his agent's point of view but looking at his age and the years of commitment to the deal, it's just not in my best interest.