IRVING -- Linebacker Anthony Spencer signed his franchise tender with the Dallas Cowboys on Monday, guaranteeing him $8.8 million for the 2012 season.
The move means he will start participating in the team's off-season conditioning program, which began last week. His new agent, Jordan Woy, said he hopes to continue talks with the Cowboys about a multi-year contract extension.
According to a source, the Cowboys have no intention at this time of giving Spencer a long-term contract and are prepared to let him play the 2012 season for the $8.8 million tender.
It was certainly in Spencer's best interest to sign the tender now, four days before the 2012 NFL Draft, rather than chance the Cowboys drafting an outside linebacker in the first round and then opting to rescind the tender offer.
The Cowboys could still take a linebacker early in the draft, possibly even in the first round, in part because they can always use another pass rusher and also as a potential replacement for Spencer, who will be a free agent after the upcoming season.
Although Spencer has never recorded more than six sacks in a season, the Cowboys value what he has done -- especially against the run -- since being a first-round pick in 2007. The team believes a change in philosophy on defense could help Spencer improve his sack numbers in 2012.
Clarence E. Hill Jr.