Originally Posted by Romo 2 Austin
If we lose Spencer and with Wares age OLB becomes our #1 need. Not good.
I think we are best off keeping Spencer.
He costs too much and produces too little. Ratliff is entering the same boat.
In the end you have 3 resources to build your roster: draft, free agency and salary cap. You also have to be constantly revitalizing your roster with young players and you have to avoid paying too much salary to older players whose skill and ability tends to rapidly decline once they hit around 30. If you put too much salary investments in such players you will usually have to pay a price somewhere down the line. The only ones who won't are those who can convert older players into high draft picks before they decline - the Patriots and the Eagles. Can you think of an example where the Cowboys did this? The only one that comes to mind is Herschel Walker and we know how that one turned out.
Unless he starts producing 10 sack seasons we can't pay him $9M/yr. He is also getting close to 30 and will soon start to decline. So you may get 2-3 good years out of him before he declines. The problem is Ware will be declining along a similar time curve as they were acquired only two drafts apart from one another. When Ware starts producing only 6-9 sacks per year Spencer's 4-6 sacks per year isn't going to cut it. At that point you'll have wished a higher pick was spent on a high sack player who could be entering his prime as Ware begins to fade. We need to see this path coming to plan for it now by going for Ware's heir apparent now. Ware is entering his 8th season, he has a neck problem that seems to act up every year during the season but this year it started in TC.
Look I wish I could also stick my head in the sand and pretend Ware will get us 15-20 sacks per year for the next 7 years but that is very unlikely to happen based on past history. When he loses just a little burst he could be done as an elite pass rusher. We have to expect this to happen fairly soon and we want his replacement to be on the roster already so that the defense doesn't tank and we don't have to reach in the draft (see Shante Carver, Kavika Pitman, Ebenezer Ekuban).
I agree with Hos 100%. It is time to find Ware a new complementary pass rusher. Giving Spencer a $10M/yr contract is going to come back to bite us in 2 years when he is a JAG, Ware is in decline and there is no one to pick up the pass rush slack.
Now it's just a matter of finding that player who has the requisite size, strength, burst, quickness and pass rushing skill. I would be okay with trading up for this player if need be.