- Calvin Watkins, ESPN Staff Writer
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IRVING, Texas -- Cowboys outside linebacker Anthony Spencer is increasing his value with every game he plays.
He currently has a career-high 6.5 sacks and is 10 tackles away from matching his career high (67). And he's tied for second on the team with 18 quarterback pressures, based on the Cowboys coaches' statistics.
Spencer was given the franchise tag in the offseason to the tune of $8.8 million. The Cowboys could tag Spencer again in 2013 or let him test free agency, where he could command between $8 million to $10 million a year.
"I hope it’s every time I make a play, not because I make a sack," Spencer said of earning respect around the league. "That’s the way the game is: You get paid for what you can do on the field. And the more you can do, the more you usually get paid."
While DeMarcus Ware leads the Cowboys with 10 sacks and 25 quarterback pressures, Spencer has been one of the more consistent performers and is on pace to reach double-digit sacks for the first time in his career.
Said Spencer: "I look at the season at the end of the year and pretty much judge it from there. ... I'm real comfortable in the situation they’ve been putting me in."
Spencer has always been the compared to Ware, almost unfairly. While both play the same position, their responsibilities are different. Ware plays on the weak side while Spencer defends the strong side, where the tight end is in play. Ware is considered one of the best pass rushers in the game. Spencer's status as a good pass rusher was always questioned because he was good against the run and defensive coaches dropped him back into coverage more than Ware.
This season, defensive coordinator Rob Ryan has had Spencer blitz more than in seasons past, and it seems to benefit the Cowboys.
"Trying to make as many plays as possible," Spencer said. "That's always been the way that I go. So if the sacks come, they come. If they don’t, they don’t. As long as I'm making plays, that’s the bottom line."