By Dan Graziano
1. They must like their chances of getting a long-term deal done this offseason with Spencer.
It had been assumed he wanted to hit the market and cash in on his career season, but the decision to franchise him indicates to me the Cowboys and Woy must have had some encouraging discussions.
2. They must be getting close to a contract extension for quarterback Tony Romo.
After all of the restructuring work they did last week to get under the cap, tagging Spencer puts the Cowboys right back at or over it again. While there's other restructuring they can do, the best way for them to get significant 2013 cap relief is still to extend Romo and reduce his 2013 cap number in the process.
3. They're prioritizing the defensive front.
Spencer will move from outside linebacker to defensive end in the Cowboys' 4-3 defensive alignment under new coordinator Monte Kiffin, rushing the passer from the opposite side of the line from DeMarcus Ware
and keeping Jason Hatcher
and Jay Ratliff
inside as defensive tackles.
4. They need to address safety. Big time.
The move that immediately preceded the Spencer news was the release of safety Gerald Sensabaugh
-- a move that saves $1.4 million in cap room and leaves an opening at the back of the defense. The Sensabaugh cut, to me, says that they like Barry Church
as the safety who can play the single-high position when Kiffin's scheme calls for it and that they still have plans for 2012 fourth-round pick Matt Johnson
All in all, I can't say I like the move. It smacks of Jerry Jones' and the Cowboys' persistent inability to let go before it's too late. I feel the same way about Jones' stubborn refusal to part ways with Ratliff, as a matter of fact.
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