Do the Cowboys have money for Anthony Spencer?

INDIANAPOLIS – Anthony Spencer's future with the Cowboys is tenuous at best because of the salary cap.

While the Cowboys and Spencer’s agent, Jordan Woy, are scheduled to meet at the NFL scouting combine in Indianapolis, owner and general manager Jerry Jones acknowledged the team will have difficulty in keeping their 2007 first-round pick, who is coming off his first Pro Bowl.

“We are very challenged under the cap and so we’re going to have to pick our spots to spend this money is the best way for me to answer it,” Jones said.

Jones said Spencer’s future is not necessarily tied to the contract negotiations with Tony Romo and there is a “reasonable way,” to keep Spencer from hitting the open market on March 12. An option is putting the franchise tag on Spencer for the second straight year, which would cost the Cowboys $10.6 million.

Jones said he did not regret being able to sign Spencer to a long-term last year because, “that would be impacting us this year, so we would be faced with the same challenges.”

Jones said if the Cowboys are not able to keep Spencer, then they would be able to add a couple of players in his departure.

With the Cowboys moving to the 4-3 defense, Spencer would become a strong-side defensive end. Jones raised some question about Spencer’s size to play the position. At 250 pounds he would be smaller than the ends Monte Kiffin has used in that spot in the past.

He also said the priority positions in the scheme are the rush ends (DeMarcus Ware) and tackles (Jay Ratliff), and they account for $18.3 million in salary-cap room.

“You’ve got to spend your money where the key players are if you’re doing it right,” Jones said. “Now you’re looking at somebody who spent money on where key players aren’t.”