Cowboys still have option to trade Anthony Spencer

Cowboys Tag Anthony Spencer (0:49)

Ed Werder discusses Dallas' decision to use the franchise tag on LB Anthony Spencer for the second straight year. (0:49)

IRVING, Texas – The Cowboys decision to place the franchise tag on Anthony Spencer for the second straight year makes some sense despite the $10.6 million cost.

One of the reasons is that the Cowboys might not have to pay Spencer $10.6 million at all.

Spencer’s agent, Jordan Woy, has a history of working out deals with the Cowboys, having done so with Flozell Adams a few years ago right before free agency started

But think about this option: trading Spencer.

Under the tag rules, a team would owe the Cowboys two first-round picks but they can work out a deal for substantially less.

Trading franchise players is not uncommon. Kansas City traded Jared Allen to Minnesota in 2008 for a first rounder, two third rounders and a swapped sixth round pick. Green Bay traded Corey Williams to Cleveland for a second rounder in 2008.

New England traded Matt Cassel to Kansas City in 2009 with Mike Vrabel for a second round pick. In 2003, the Patriots traded Tebucky Jones to New Orleans for three picks: third and seventh rounder sin ’03 and a fourth round in 2004.

So what can the Cowboys get for Spencer? He is coming off a career-high 11 sacks and a Pro Bowl appearance. He is durable but he is 29. Teams don’t want to pay age and to get Spencer a long-term deal would have to be worked out for the new club.

Maybe they get a third-round pick in return.

It beats getting nothing - or a possible 2014 compensatory pick - in return, which is what the Cowboys would have received if they just let him walk.

At best the Cowboys get their best defensive player in 2012 on the roster in 2013 and at the worst they get a draft pick or two in return if they were to trade him.