Jerry Jones plays hardball on tenders

Cowboys owner Jerry Jones has said he doesn't want his players to feel too comfortable heading into 2010 -- and he backed that up with a couple of tender offers Thursday afternoon. Despite the fact that Marcus Spears played reasonably well as the starting defensive end in 2010, his tender offer ($1.226 million) is lower than two backup defensive ends, Jason Hatcher and Stephen Bowen. Their offers were roughly $500,000 higher than Spears'.

It's almost like Jones is daring a team (Dolphins?) to sign Spears to an offer sheet. And just to be clear, the Cowboys would only receive second-round compensation for Spears, a former first-round selection. That may sound pretty good to some of you, but I thought Spears played pretty well in 2010.

The other surprise is that safety Gerald Sensabaugh received a second-round tender worth a little more than $1.8 million. Cowboys scouts raved about Sensabaugh's performance in 2009 but it looks like Jones is willing to gamble that other teams won't be willing to give up a second-round pick for the safety.

I think the Giants and Eagles would both be interested in Sensabaugh, but it's likely Jones would block that move by matching an offer.

Jones also placed the highest tender possible on wide receiver Miles Austin. The tender is worth $3.168 million. If a team wants to sign him, it would have to give up a first- and third-round draft pick.