Defensive end Marcus Spears isn't ruling out a return to the Cowboys, but he called the possibility of playing a seventh season in Dallas "shaky" via his personal Twitter page.
With the current collective bargaining agreement set to expire Thursday, a report Monday stated the Cowboys would allow Spears and safety Gerald Sensabaugh to test the market before possibly attempting to re-sign them. That's basically been expected for several reasons:
Both players have six accrued seasons, meaning they'd be unrestricted free agents even if the NFL uses the 2010 uncapped formula for free agent eligibility; teams are wary of committing big money to players right now without knowledge of the next salary cap structure; and the Cowboys did not have serious contract talks with either player over the past year.
"Testing the market folks!" Spears tweeted later Monday. "Thank you all in Dallas for the support it's still possible I could be back, but it's shaky."
Spears, a first-round pick in 2005, has been an underrated run defender who played 88 straight games before a calf injury cost him the final eight games this past season. He's one of three Cowboys ends scheduled to be free agents. Stephen Bowen and Jason Hatcher have five accrued seasons, meaning they'd be unrestricted if the next CBA mirrors the previous structure, requiring only four seasons.
Remember, last year's uncapped rule (six seasons) prevented Spears and Sensabaugh from being unrestricted. Spears ($1.226 million) and Sensabaugh ($1.809 million) signed one-year restricted tenders last spring. The ability test the market this time -- whenever it opens -- probably wouldn't be such a bad thing.