Spears doesn't love his tender

SpearsSpearsCowboys restricted free-agent defensive end Marcus Spears received the NFL equivalent to a slap in the face Thursday when the club tendered him at original draft pick level, $1.226 million, for the 2010 season. Spears, the starting defensive end on a playoff team, received a lower tender than backup defensive ends Stephen Bowen and Jason Hatcher ($1.759 million each).

Both owner Jerry Jones and coach Wade Phillips have praised Spears' performance in 2009, but they certainly have a funny way of showing it. They're practically begging a team to sign Spears to an offer sheet, although I don't think it will happen. Calvin Watkins of ESPNDallas.com was the first reporter to visit with the Cowboys' former first-round pick.

"Tough man! That's the way it is, man, it's business," Spears said via text.

Jones had hinted after the season that a contract extension might be in order for Spears, but Thursday's decision suggests the Cowboys aren't that high on the defensive end. Jones told reporters at the combine last week that he wanted players to be "nervous" about their jobs heading into 2010. And I'd have to say he accomplished that goal with Spears.

Update: According to the NFL, the Cowboys would receive first-round pick compensation for Spears.