IRVING, Texas The Dallas Cowboys have hit what a source terms a "downturn'' in contract negotiations with franchise-tagged defensive end Anthony Spencer, the problem being the club believes recent NFL deals have shoved the market value of comparable players down to the 5-million-a-year range.
The Spencer camp wants the recent five-year, 66-million extension given Packers linebacker Clay Matthews to be part of the conversation. Or, at least, the 8-million-year deal Cleveland gave pass-rushing linebacker Paul Kruger to lure him from Baltimore.
But three other NFL contracts hang like a dark cloud over Spencer's wishes of receiving a long-term deal in Dallas before July 15, the deadline to re-up him or else the one-time Pro Bowler will play out the season at the tag number of 10.6 million.
The three contracts the Cowboys are using as leverage: Cliff Avril's deal to move him to Seattle at 7.5 million a year but only for two seasons, so the total is only 13 millio...