IRVING, Texas – The Cowboys are sure to take a look at contracts for two of their defensive stalwarts as the 2013 season approaches.
Cowboys executive vice president Stephen Jones spoke to reporters Thursday following the team's last minicamp practice. Contracts were a popular topic of conversation, as Jones fielded questions about both linebacker Sean Lee, who is entering the last year of his contract, and defensive end Anthony Spencer, who is set to begin his second season as the team's franchise player.
Spencer is slated to make $10.6 million this year under the franchise tag, and the booming market for defensive ends is something Jones said the Cowboys will have to consider in contract negotiations.
"Obviously we have to take a look at what people signed for and what they'll make going forward," Jones told reporters. "There's some good football players that what they got paid might affect what we want to pay Anthony going forward."
Of course, Jones was evasive on whether the Cowboys could possibly sign Spencer, who managed 11 sacks in 2012, by the July 15 deadline for franchise players to sign multi-year deals. If they don't, Spencer would have to play 2013 on his one-year, $10.6 million contract and would become a free agent next spring.
"There's nothing here that's not on the up and up and friendly," Jones said. "If it works out, it works out. We'd love to have Spencer here, but we also understand it has got to work for him too."
Of course, contract negotiations depend on more than just the Pro Bowl defensive end. Lee, Jason Hatcher and Will Allen all come up for renewal after this season, and key starters such as Dez Bryant, Bruce Carter, DeMarco Murray and Tyron Smith come up for renewal in 2015.
"Everybody affects everybody," Jones said. "We've got to watch each year. We don't just look at what the cap is in 2013. You've got to project what it does in 2014 and 2015."
Lee factors heavily into that equation, as well. Jones said the it's likely the Cowboys will take a look at Lee's soon-to-expire contract in this window before the season gets underway.
"Historically we look at guys going into the last year of their contract and Sean is going into the last year of his contract, and it will probably be something we'll look at."
There's been talk for some time that the Cowboys would look at their fourth-year middle linebacker's contract situation sometime this summer, though Lee has shown no interest in speculating. [embedded_ad]
"All I care about is being on the football field and playing," Lee said Thursday. "When it comes to contract, that stuff will take care of itself. For me, I'm just supposed to be out there. I want to be out there playing a full season, I want to be playing in the playoffs and I want to be playing for a Super Bowl every year. So that's my top concern and my only concern."