Anthony Spencer proves his worth again

CHARLOTTE, N.C. – Anthony Spencer's $8.8 million salary doesn’t seem like such a bad bargain now, does it?

The Dallas defense dearly missed their strongside outside linebacker in losses the last two weeks, when he was sidelined by a strained pectoral muscle. Spencer made his presence felt in his return Sunday with six tackles (one for a loss), a sack and a quarterback hurry.

“The difference,” owner/general manager Jerry Jones said when asked about Spencer’s impact in the Cowboys’ win over the Panthers. “I thought he was a big difference maker. … Spencer was a big difference and will continue to be.”

If Spencer keeps playing at this level, he’ll make a heck of a case for the Cowboys to sign him to the long-term contract he hoped to get this year instead of having the franchise tag used on him.

Spencer has 35 tackles, three sacks, three tackles for losses and 10 quarterback hurries in four games. Not coincidentally, the .500 Cowboys are 3-1 when Spencer has played.

Spencer’s sack all but sealed the Cowboys’ win over Carolina. He planted Cam Newton at the Panthers’ 36, forcing the Panthers to rush into a desperation play as the clock was ticking down at the end of the game.

“It felt good just to be out there making plays,” Spencer said. “That’s all I want to do.”