The case for franchising a player twice

March, 5, 2013
3/05/13
12:02
PM ET
The Dallas Cowboys are still hopeful of a long-term contract with Anthony Spencer, who was franchised for $10.5 million on Monday. It's the second consecutive year Spencer has been franchised.

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There are mixed results from players who were franchised in consecutive years.

Baltimore franchised linebacker Terrell Suggs in 2008 and 2009. Before the 2009 season, Suggs signed a six-year $62.5 million deal with $38 million guaranteed. Suggs was 26 years old when he signed the highest contract for a linebacker in league history at the time. The Ravens were able to keep Suggs long term and he's proven to be one of the top players in the NFL.

In 2009, Karlos Dansby, then with Arizona, was also franchised for a second consecutive year. Arizona replaced Dansby in the draft and he signed a five-year $42.5 million deal with $22 million guaranteed with the Miami Dolphins. Dansby was 29 when he signed the deal with the Dolphins and it was one of the highest deals signed for a inside linebacker.

Spencer is a solid player. Maybe better than Dansby. But is Spencer elite? Should he be paid among the highest paid at his position?

Currently, Spencer is the second-highest paid linebacker in the NFL in terms of average salary for 2013 behind DeMarcus Ware ($11.1 million). Both Spencer and Ware move to defensive end this season, putting them lower on a list of players that includes Mario Williams ($16 million average), Julius Peppers ($14 million average) and Charles Johnson ($12.6 million).

When a player is franchised in consecutive years it gives the NFL team all the control, but at the same time it shows the worth that player has to the franchise, especially if a long-term deal is worked out.

If Spencer doesn't get a long-term deal with the Cowboys, he'll be 30 when he hits the free agent market and a big money contract might not be available to him if he has an average season.

The Cowboys have all the leverage here with Spencer, but should he perform at a high level again in 2013, he might be able to grab it.
Calvin Watkins joined ESPNDallas.com in September 2009. He's covered the Cowboys since 2006 and also has covered colleges, boxing and high school sports.

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