Is Anthony Spencer in the plans?

January, 24, 2012
1/24/12
10:30
AM ET
MOBILE, Ala. -- Cowboys outside linebacker Anthony Spencer will enter free agency March 13 with some uncertainty. The Cowboys valued Spencer's run-stopping ability but wondered why he didn't make a major impact as a pass rusher.

Spencer finished with six sacks, none the last four weeks of the season. When opposing offenses double-teamed fellow outside linebacker DeMarcus Ware, Spencer seemed to disappear.

"He did some real good things," Jerry Jones said Monday afternoon from the Senior Bowl. "He's got a lot of expectations and we could expect a lot but he did some real good things out there for us. He certainly, for me I've seen him do things that were so impressive, let's have him on one side doing those extremely impressive things on every play and Ware of course on the other side doing impressive things. The issue is Ware is Ware."

It's almost unfair to compare Spencer to Ware, who is considered one of the top defensive players in the game. But the Cowboys expected more of a dynamic duo than this.

And while Spencer is playing more pass coverage, by dropping back, he was credited with one pass breakup in 2011 and has 10 for his career. Ware had two last season to go along with 19.5 sacks.

Spencer will hit the open market as a 2007 first-round pick with tremendous potential, but he doesn't have the stats to maybe warrant a big-money contract. However, a team could give Spencer a huge deal while looking at what he did in the passing game and knowing it's almost unfair to compare him to Ware.

The Cowboys will let Spencer test the market and get a few offers before doing anything. Of course, the Cowboys might find Spencer's replacement in the draft or free agency.
Calvin Watkins joined ESPNDallas.com in September 2009. He's covered the Cowboys since 2006 and also has covered colleges, boxing and high school sports.

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