Resigning Jason Hatcher and Anthony Spencer Would be a Typical Dallas Cowboys Mistake


Dec 29, 2013; Arlington, TX, USA; Dallas Cowboys defensive tackle

Jason Hatcher

(97) hits Philadelphia Eagles quarterback

Nick Foles

(9) and causes a fumble in the third quarter at AT&T Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports

Multiple media sources are reporting that the Dallas Cowboys have reached out to Jason Hatcher and Anthony Spencer offering contract extensions. With such little amount of money currently available (less than $2M) it’s hard to imagine an actual dollar value was attached to said extension. The discussion and offer were probably a hypothetical one dependent on how the Demarcus Ware situation is resolved.

Note: The Dallas Cowboys and Demarcus Ware plan to have a decision made by 3pm today (the beginning of free agency).

The troubling part of offering contract extensions to these fine gentlemen, even hypothetically, is disturbing to say the least. Jason Hatcher is 31 years old and Anthony Spencer is 30 years old. Need I go on?

Ok, I will.

The Dallas Cowboys are notorious for giving big-money contracts to aging veterans. The contracts are completely unrealistic about expectations. Ignoring physical decline brought on by age and back-loading such deals in a way that cripples the franchise in the future.

Avoid the 3rd Contract

These are the dreaded, 3rd Contracts that all successful teams avoid. The first contracts are usually for 3-5 years and are known as “Rookie Deals”.

The 2nd Contract is typically the most expensive. They usually hit when a player reaches 25-27 years old. They are costly but they run through a player’s physical prime. Players are playing to their peak ability and run the lowest injury risk.

The 3rd contract is usually just as costly but run well into the player’s 30’s. Players’ abilities are declining and risk of injury increases. Teams offer these 3rd contracts are well aware that the back half of the deal will be problematic. Teams do this when they fail to plan in advance and develop replacements. Teams like the Cowboys.

Jason Hatcher

Jason Hatcher is exiting his physical prime. Despite collecting 11 sacks in 2013 he only has 27 for a career. Granted the defensive system and scheme have changed, but Hatcher is looking to be paid like a 11-sack guy – not a 3 (average for career) sack guy. This is his chance to cash in and you can bet someone will overpay on a 4-5 year deal just to get him.

Sep 15, 2013; Kansas City, MO, USA; Kansas City Chiefs offensive tackle

Eric Fisher

(72) blocks against Dallas Cowboys defensive end Anthony Spencer (93) in the second half at Arrowhead Stadium. Kansas City won the game 17-16. Mandatory Credit: John Rieger-USA TODAY Sports

Anthony Spencer

Anthony Spencer is a little different. Coming off of major knee surgery Spencer is expected to return to form. Whether that happens this summer, in training camp or into the regular season remains to be seen. Unlike Hatch, Spencer has been a very consistent performer for the Cowboys.

He’s considered a very balanced player who rarely misses tackles or assignments. But Spencer is transitioning to a 4-3 and the Cowboys have not seen enough to have any idea what kind of player he can be in it. And he’s 30. And he’s returning from injury.

No matter how nice these players are or how well they recently performed, they cannot be resigned to multiyear contracts. They are only acceptable with limited commitment and bargain prices. I can’t imagine a world where they would accept such a thing. Someone will pay them the money they want for way too many years. Hopefully it’s not the Cowboys.

It’s almost good the Cowboys don’t have any money. I don’t trust what they’d spend it on.

Do you have questions or comments regarding Dallas area sports? Email Reid at You may be included in the next weekly mailbag. Follow Reid on twitter @ReidDHanson