The deal guarantees Spencer $8.8 million in base salary for 2012, but for 2012 only. Spencer was hoping to have a long-term deal negotiated, which may still be on the table.
The only two times the Cowboys used the franchise player designation while under the ownership of Jerry Jones (Ken Hamlin and Flozell Adams), both times a long-term deal was agreed on before the start of that season.
Signing Spencer to a long-term deal could lower his base salary for 2012, while giving the Cowboys room to pursue other options under their salary cap as well.
The long-term deal would work in Spencer's favor as well, since he has said throughout the process that he would like to sign deal that promises a paycheck past 2012.
"That's a good thing and a bad thing. It's good because it shows how much they think of me. But you don't want to be playing on a one-year contract. You want a longer deal and the security that gives your family. But hey, I understand. It's a business.''