Position battle: Marcus Spears fights for a roster spot

OXNARD, Calif. – Marcus Spears is a pro’s pro who understands the business of the NFL. You don’t have to tell the eight-year veteran that he’s fighting for a roster spot.

Spears can see that Sean Lissemore is ready to emerge as a significant factor in his third NFL season. Spears knows that the Cowboys invested a third-round pick in Tyrone Crawford and like what they’re seeing from the rookie. And Spears gets that the Cowboys are intrigued by the developing potential of 6-foot-7, 325-pound project Clifton Geathers.

Start crunching the numbers and it’s not to hard to figure out that Spears and/or fellow veteran defensive end Kenyon Coleman could be the odd man out when the Cowboys cut the roster to 53 players.

“That’s the case, man,” Spears said. “That’s the situation. I think you would have to be blind not to understand that, so like I’ve said all my life, the only control that you have is what you do on the field. If it’s a decision that’s going to be based off of that, I feel pretty good about my chances.”

In the NFL, it’s often not just about what you do on the field. Finances are often a major factor.

The Cowboys could create $2 million in cap space by releasing or trading Spears or Coleman, either of whom could potentially bring the Cowboys a late-round pick in return. In Spears’ case, however, he would count $2.1 toward next year’s cap.

The Cowboys could decide that keeping Spears, the second-highest paid defensive lineman on the team, doesn’t make sense if they plan to give younger, cheaper players more snaps.

“It’s always a possibility, man,” Spears said. “I think for right now I’m in the blue and silver, so I need to pay attention to detail where I am right now. If that situation comes about with upper management and myself, then so be it, but right now I have to do what I have to do for the Dallas Cowboys.”

One reason the Cowboys could want to keep Spears is that he’s considered an outstanding locker room guy.

There’s no question that Spears would do whatever he could to aid the development of the younger defensive ends, even though he’s competing for playing time and possibly has his job on the line.

“They’re great football players,” Spears said of Lissemore and Crawford. “I think they’re going to be good for a long time. They have what it takes to play D-line. Sean obviously is going to be a great football player. I think he has a shot to be one of those top-tier 3-4 guys. He’s in the position right now where he can get more playing time and do things that he wants to accomplish on his own, but at the same time, it’s going to take a lot of us to get to where we want to go.

“Hopefully, I’m a part of that. If not, I’ll be somewhere else trying to get there.”