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Cowboys Mailbag: March 5, 2012

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Roberto Gamez - San Antonio, TX: Do you think the Cowboys should sign Anthony Spencer to a long term deal along the lines of what Ahmad Brooks got from the 49ers? It would cost less than the franchise tag this year?

Nick: I think I'd rather just do the franchise tag and nothing else. This is a tricky situation because we all know Spencer hasn't lived up to the first-round expectations and the jury is out if he ever will. I think he's better and more valuable than he's given credit for, but I still don't know if it warrants a long-term deal. Whatever happens with Spencer – franchise tag or long-term deal, I think the Cowboys need to view outside linebacker/pass rusher as a big need in the draft.

Josh: No, I would not give him that much money. I think the safest bet would be to franchise him. It's not a bold stroke like simply letting him walk and trying to find a way to improve, but at least you know what you're getting, and that would buy you time to find a replacement. I think Spencer would find a deal similar to the one Brooks got on the open market, and maybe in days gone by that would be money well-spent. But the game has evolved to the point that stopping the pass is more important than stopping the run, and Spencer isn't that good as a rusher.

Tom Thurston - Ridgefield, CT: Do you think Spencer will get lazy once he gets paid the big bucks?

Nick: Well, no I don't think he will. I don't think lazy is a word associated that should be associated with about 99 percent of NFL players. I'm aware of the comments he made last year, but I wouldn't call him that overall. And I really don't see him getting the "big bucks" in terms of a long-term deal. Now, $8.8 million for one year is a pretty penny for you and me. But if he gets the franchise tag, it's only for one year. The incentive to keep the fire inside and play for the "big bucks" would still be out there.

Josh: I think that's something you have to ask yourself about every player before you hand out a second contract. Generally, that's why you have to treat free agents with a bit of doubt, because their former team knows more about their makeup than you. It's certainly happened with guys before, and considering his issue at times has been in regards to motor, yeah, I'd be concerned about it. If you franchise him, you know he'll be motivated for at least another year.

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