IRVING, Texas – For the second straight year, the Cowboys will put the franchise tag on Anthony Spencer as the club beat the NFL's 3 p.m. (CST) deadline.
Spencer's tag cost the Cowboys $10.63 million immediately against the cap, an increase from the $8.8 million tender he played under last year.
This year, Spencer could play all season under the tag, but the Cowboys could also sign him to a long-term contract, which would obviously lower his cap charge for this season.
But most importantly, Spencer will not be an unrestricted free agent on March 12. Teams can still sign him to an offer sheet, but if he signs, the Cowboys would get a first-round draft pick in compensation.
There is a scenario where Spencer could be traded to another team, which would absorb Spencer's $10.63 franchise tag. If that happened, that team would likely already have a deal in place to re-sign him long term. Under that scenario, the Cowboys would probably only get a third- or fourth-round pick.
Just last Wednesday, Dallas was more than $20 million over the salary cap. But thanks to restructured deals for players such as DeMarcus Ware, Jason Witten, Brandon Carr and Miles Austin, the Cowboys were able to get under the cap by Friday morning. Still, to clear another $10 million or so in room, the Cowboys have made a few more restructures. They also waived safety Gerald Sensabaugh on Monday to save another $1.4 off the cap this year. [embedded_ad]
Spencer becomes the first Cowboys player ever to be franchised in consecutive seasons. Only Flozell Adams and Ken Hamlin have been franchised by the Cowboys before Spencer first got the tag last year.
In 2012, Spencer's 106 tackles led the Cowboys defense and he finished second in sacks with 11. Those numbers helped him earn his first career Pro Bowl selection.