One of the many questions floating around Valley Ranch these days is what to do about Jason Hatcher and Anthony Spencer. Since it’s been reported that the Cowboys have reached out to both players agent, let’s ask the question ourselves…
Starting with Jason Hatcher:
Hatcher is coming off his first pro-bowl season while leading the team in sacks and the entire league at his position in sacks. He went from playing a DE in a 3-4 defense his entire pro career to playing 3-tech in a 4-3 scheme (versatile). Not only did he have a tough job learning a new position, but a new scheme as well. And physically, many wondered if the switch would work.
At 6’6 and coming in around 300lbs the coaches and front office thought he was too tall and would have trouble getting any leverage at the snap of the ball. Well, he proved that wasn’t going to be a problem from day 1 in training camp. Just on the pros, there shouldn’t be much of a question why we should sign him up. Ahhh, but wait, let’s get to the cons.
Hatcher is coming off his best season yet with career numbers that are hard to ignore, however there’s another number that is hard to ignore as well. That’s Hatcher's age. He’s 32! That’s getting on up there in football years and as of right now, he refuses to see that as a problem. The problem with that is he isn’t the one that will be signing his checks.
Another issue that comes up is that Hatcher has always been a serviceable player – a guy that would come in and do his job and you could count on – but where was this type of production in the past? Which leaves the question, did he let the last year of his contract motivate him to put out this type of year? It’s happened in the past with other players.
And finally, the contract he’s looking for. Hatcher is looking to get paid one last time, and you really can’t blame the guy for wanting that. I haven’t heard it for a fact, but I would think he would be looking for a 4 to 5 year deal somewhere in the 35 to 40 million dollar range. And while the league did help out by bumping up the salary cap, Stephen and the crew would still have to renegotiate other deals to get him there.
And then Anthony Spencer:
2012 – Spencer was slapped with a Franchise tag and put up a Pro-bowl year with a career high in sacks, and he’s always been a beast against the run. He just never put up the sack numbers prior to that season. He was dubbed “Almost” Anthony because of it.
So After the 2012 season he was given the franchise tag once again. This meant another cool 10 mil in his pocket. In my opinion he was one of the most underrated players at his position in the entire league since he took over for Greg Ellis, but the unthinkable happened for him and the cowboys…
2013 – He tweaked his knee at mini-camp, which was originally thought to be a 3 week treatment plan and back to work he would go. Three weeks turned to 4 and so on and he missed the entire preseason and everyone was told he would be back to play in the opener against the Giants. That never happened either.
Spencer ended up playing the next week in KC and had 2 tackles. After that game, he didn't suit up for the Cowboys again in 2013. In October, Spencer had the dreaded micro-fracture surgery on his knee.
To players of today, it's equal to what a torn ACL back in the 70’s and 80’s was to players – players just don’t seem to be the same after having that kind of surgery done on their knee. Reports coming out of Valley Ranch are that Spencer was seen on crunches just about a month ago. And like Hatcher, his age is a question; he’ll turn 31 this season. However, all this could work in favor of Jerry & Co. if they're able to get Spencer at a very reduced price, but even still, would you be willing to risk it?
So there you have it.