For the next few days, most of the Cowboys' business, and the NFL business for that matter, will be taking place in Indianapolis at the annual scouting combine.
While the initial intent of the event was to solely meet, scout and evaluate the prospects for the upcoming draft, it has turned it a much bigger spectacle than that.
More than just prospective players, coaches, owners and scouts will be on hand, as agents are also prominent in Indy as well, making it rather convenient for teams to discuss contracts or negotiations with their own players. Of course, it's supposed to be their "own players" only and anything else would be considered tampering.
But for the Cowboys specifically, it could be a chance for them to get an early discussion with Anthony Spencer's agent, Jordan Woy. Executive vice president Stephen Jones said Wednesday that the Cowboys would like to have Spencer back and that they'd meet with Woy at some point during the week.
NFL teams are currently in the window to franchise players if they desire. That began Monday and will run through March 4. However, it's not likely the Cowboys will go that route for the second consecutive year with Spencer, who played under the $8.8 million tag. This year, the cost for the franchise tag has gone up to $10.63 million for Spencer.
Not only is the price steep, but the Cowboys are $20 million over the salary cap and have to shave off that much just to get even by the March 12 deadline, which is the start of the new league year.
To franchise Spencer, obviously the Cowboys would need to clear more than $30 million in space to fit him under the cap.
Spencer was just the third Cowboys player to ever get the franchise tag, along with Flozell Adams (2002) and Ken Hamlin (2008). But unlike Adams and Spencer, Hamlin did not play all season with the tag as the Cowboys used it to retain negotiating rights before signing him to a long-term deal.
While the Cowboys would likely want to keep Spencer around with a long-term contract as well, they don't have the luxury of franchising him first to buy some time. [embedded_ad]
Spencer is coming off the best season of his career, which earned him his first trip to the Pro Bowl. Spencer had 11 sacks, nearly leading the team as DeMarcus Ware finished with 11.5. Spencer did have a team-best 106 tackles and ranked second in quarterback pressures with 26.
What to do with Spencer isn't the only decision the Cowboys have to make. There has been speculation over the players who could be released to save some cap room. Those names include Doug Free and Dan Connor and perhaps Marcus Spears. Miles Austin and Jay Ratliff have been mentioned as mere speculation, but those moves seem unlikely at this point.
The Cowboys can also renegotiate a few contracts such as Brandon Carr, Jason Witten and DeMarcus Ware. And let's not forget about Tony Romo, who is expected to count more than $16 million on the cap next year. The Cowboys want to lower his charge with a new deal that will be somewhat cap-friendly. However, Romo is also looking for a contract that will fairly compensate him as one of the higher-paid quarterbacks in the league.
There is a chance those discussions could also transpire in Indianapolis as well.
So while there will be 40-times, bench-press results and shuttle runs, the stuff going on behind the scenes could be even more important for the Cowboys this weekend.