Of the 20 Cowboys players whose contracts are due up at the end of this year, it's quite likely that outside Anthony Spencer would command the most on the open market, which may make him the team's first priority.
Spencer has shown a greater level of consistency this season than in years past, and plays such a valuable position that the Cowboys might not like the idea of moving forward without him. However, his performances of late are quite likely growing the price tag. Defensive coordinator Rob Ryan, who had predicted a breakout for him against the Redskins, has been impressed with Spencer since he arrived, and is slowly being proved correct in his evaluation of the 27-year old.
Spencer led the team in tackles against Miami on Thanksgiving, including three for a loss, and created pressure on Dolphins quarterback Matt Moore at different times.
"I was making plays," Spencer said. "That's when I'm having fun. So, I had a lot of fun that game, so I guess I played pretty well."
In some years past, the Cowboys have completed contract extensions with players during this time of year, and do have the cap flexibility to lock up some of their more productive player long-term, if they choose. Despite the likelihood that Spencer is their top priority either now or in the spring, the Cowboys' *other *pass rusher says at the moment, he is not thinking about this being a contract year for him.
"I don't think about that at all," Spencer said. "That's for my family to think about more than anything. So, they try to talk to me about it, but whatever is going to happen is going to happen, so the only thing I can control is the way I'm playing. I try to just not worry about that as much, either.
"I thought about it enough during the offseason, when I was working out, getting ready for this season. This time right now is just to focus on just getting the wins and doing the things I need to do come the playoff run . . . Getting my body ready and the things I was doing during the offseason, it was definitely a motivation factor. But right now the only things that's going to predict where I'm going to be or what I'm going to be doing next year is the way I'm playing this year. So, just being on the field and doing the things I know I need to get done, that's the only thing I'm worried about."