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SI.com: Cowboys OLB Anthony Spencer Hurt His Chances Of Signing Big Contract In 2011

In a recent article on SI.com, Dallas Cowboys Anthony Spencer was one of several players listed that hurt his chances to sign to a major contract in 2012 free agency due to his play in 2011.

In fact, they say that the only chance he has to signing the kind of contract that he may want is if the team uses the franchise tag to keep him in Dallas.

There's one way, and one way only, that Spencer can cash in a big paycheck after a mediocre fifth season in the NFL - and that's if the Cowboys opt to use the franchise tag on him.

It's a move Dallas is reportedly considering, even if it's borderline lunacy to fork over $8.8 million for the former first-round pick, who has 17 sacks over the past three seasons but has yet to take the leap to the next level while playing opposite DeMarcus Ware.

If Dallas lets Spencer walk, he won't make anything near that franchise tag price.

Spencer, a first-round pick in the 2007 draft, has not become the player that the team hoped he would and hasn't given the team a solid pass rusher to play opposite of DeMarcus Ware.

While Ware gave the team 19.5 sacks in 2011 and hasn't had less than 10 sacks since his rookie year in 2005, Spencer hasn't been able to rack up more than six sacks, his season high, which he reached in 2011 and in 2009.

Photographs by jamesbrandon, jdtornow, phlezk, flygraphix, mcdlttx, tomasland, and literalbarrage used in background montage under Creative Commons. Thank you.