IRVING, Texas -- Monday's deadline to sign franchise players to multiyear extensions will come and go without the Dallas Cowboys inking their franchise designee, outside linebacker Anthony Spencer, to a new deal.
The Cowboys had only brief talks with Spencer in the offseason about a long-term deal and have prepared for their 2007 first-round pick to count $8.8 million against the 2012 salary cap all along.
"We will start the season with his current contract," said Spencer's agent, Jordan Woy. "We will see what happens during the season. I'm sure we will have a discussion before the season ends."
But the Cowboys will not be able to sign Spencer to a deal until after the season ends, according to the collective bargaining agreement.
If Spencer has a breakout season, the Cowboys can place the franchise tag on him again in 2013, which would cost roughly $10.6 million.
Without the use of the franchise tag, however, they could run the risk of losing him to free agency. Spencer's backup, Victor Butler, is also scheduled to be an unrestricted free agent in 2013, but the team drafted Kyle Wilber in the fourth round last April as a possible future starter.
The Cowboys are banking on Spencer having a big season in part because of his desire for a mega-contract and defensive coordinator Rob Ryan putting him in more pass-rushing situations.
Spencer never has had more than six sacks in a season, but those from owner and general manager Jerry Jones to coach Jason Garrett have said the numbers do not truly reflect Spencer's value to the defense.
To go along with his six sacks in 2011, he was credited with 74 tackles. His four forced fumbles led the Cowboys and his eight tackles for loss were tied for the team lead. He also was second to DeMarcus Ware with 31 quarterback pressures and had three pass deflections.
After missing the first week of the offseason conditioning program in April, Spencer hired Woy as his agent and did not miss a day of work, although he missed the final two minicamp practices in June with what was called a minor knee injury.