Feb 2, 2014; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; Denver Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning (18) throws a pass against Seattle Seahawks defensive end Cliff Avril (56) during the second half in Super Bowl XLVIII at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

A Look Back: The Spencer Deal Hurt The Cowboys

Dec 23, 2012; Arlington, TX, USA; New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees (9) in the pocket under pressure from Dallas Cowboys linebacker Anthony Spencer (93) at Cowboys Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

First of all, lets take a moment to congratulate the Seattle Seahawks on their Super Bowl beat-down over the Denver Broncos.  They man-handled the best offense in the league and made it look easy.  It is kind of refreshing to see that defense still does in-fact win championships. 

Two of the better free-agent additions to the Seattle squad last year were Michael Bennett and Cliff Avril, both of these guys mad an impact for that defense.  The Seahawks got them at a pretty good price, which is after all, the key.

Last off-season, the Cowboys did not want Anthony Spencer to test the open market.  They franchised him before the market was set and Spencer got paid almost double what Bennett or Avril got paid.  The Seahawks got Bennett for one year at around 5 million dollars.   They also picked up Cliff Avril for 2 years at 5.5 million a year.  Those are bargains and it’s moves like that which propel teams, while also keeping them in good standing with the cap.

The Cowboys of course, did not know how the DE market would shake-out.  They were in a tough position and hind-sight is always a little more clear.  If they had been more patient though, it would have benefited them tremendously.  Dallas had issues on the D-line all year, and although it is hard to foresee that many injuries to one unit, the Cowboys could have been more diligent.  Not to mention smarter with their money.  One could argue that if Spencer had been healthy all year he would have put up great numbers and been a huge factor.  The reality is that he probably wouldn’t have made much of a bigger impact than either Bennett or Avril.

Seattle essentially got 2 players for the price of one.

Franchising Spencer for a second consecutive year really ate up a nice chunk of change and the Cowboys were unable to add much help via free-agency because of it.  I am not talking about adding another Brandon Carr either, signing other teams free-agents to big money is not the answer.  Free-agency should be used to add depth with good value in relation to the salary cap.  The good teams build from with-in.  The Cowboys must learn this, it has bitten them several times in the past and is a reason for why they are cap-broke for the foreseeable future.

This is an extremely important off-season for the Dallas Cowboys.  This team must hit bulls-eyes in the draft and they have to find the right free-agents.  If they can’t find a way to stop over-paying their own over-the-hill veterans and other teams cast-offs then they will never have the depth required to succeed in this league.

Tags: Anthony Spencer Dallas Cowboys

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