IRVING, Texas – The Cowboys are releasing defensive end Marcus Spears after eight seasons in Dallas, according to team sources.
Spears will be designated as a June 1 release, so the Cowboys won't have any immediate cap help. But the move will save them more money off the cap for the upcoming season, especially if they also decide to part ways with Doug Free at that time. Teams have the option of using two June 1 cuts on players.
Spears was slated to count $2.7 million against the cap for the upcoming year, and his release will save the team $2 million. Letting Spears know about his release now also gives him more time to find a new team.
The defensive end only played two seasons into a five-year deal through 2015. He played through knee problems the last couple years, and finding a fit or playing time in the new 4-3 scheme would have been difficult. Spears had 35 total tackles, one sack, two tackles for loss and three quarterback pressures in 2012.
Spears tweeted about his impending release Wednesday afternoon: "Fans of Dallas thank u all so much for 8 yrs the good and bad times ill be moving on!! The support has been tremendous! From my family thx U."
And later: "Guys don't be sad for me please! I've been blessed beyond measure! Everything you do in life is for a season except for family!"
The Cowboys managed to keep one first-round pick in town by giving the franchise tag to Anthony Spencer, but three first-round picks in Spears, Mike Jenkins and Felix Jones may all be in different uniforms next season.