- Tim MacMahon, ESPN Staff Writer
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If the Cowboys’ recent first-round picks don’t hit big, the long run of mediocrity by America’s Team will continue.
Jean-Jacques Taylor made that point well this morning. But I have one beef with my colleague’s column.
Spears signing a long-term deal with the Cowboys last summer isn’t evidence that he lived up to his billing. He remained with the Cowboys because the market determined that he was an affordable option to be part of the defensive end rotation.
It’s telling that Spears lost his starting job soon after signing a five-year, $19.2 million deal. There’s no guarantee he’ll even make the roster this season.
If the Cowboys could sign Spencer to the same deal, they’d do it in a split second. The reality is that Spencer, even with his mediocre sack totals, will end up getting more than twice that much money on the open market.
The Cowboys put the franchise tag on Spencer – overpaying him this season – because they aren’t prepared to commit to paying a premium price for him for the long term. They gave Spears a long-term deal because it didn’t cost that much by NFL standards.
That doesn’t make Spears a better pick than Spencer. They’ve both been serviceable, but Spencer has been better than Spears. And the Cowboys need better than both from their first-rounders.