Originally posted on Lone Star Struck  |  Last updated 3/6/12

The Cowboys tried to work out a long-term deal with outside linebacker Anthony Spencer the last few weeks but couldn’t complete one, so instead of allowing him to hit the open market, the Cowboys placed the franchise tag on him. Spencer will get a projected $8.8 million in base salary for the 2012 season, barring a sudden change in the franchise tag. The Cowboys will continue to negotiate with Spencer on a longterm deal.

Jason Garret was pleased by the move. “You compare him to guys around the league who play his position, he’s among the better outside linebackers in a 3-4 defense. We’re excited to have him back and be a part of what our defense is going to be.”

Cowboys head coach Jason Garrett said the bounty program that has been exposed in New Orleans isn’t an issue here. “It’s never really been an issue for our team,” Garrett said. “That’s not something we have done.

Garrett said he doesn’t recall a bounty system with any team he’s been associated with as a player or coach. But Darren Woodson, who was part of the Cowboys Super Bowl run in the 1990s along with Garrett, has said the defensive players on those teams put money in a pot and distributed it after games.

“I can’t speak to that comment,” Garrett said. “I’ve never been on a team where there has been anything that has been systematic or standing in meetings, doing anything like that.”

For those who may not know, putting a bounty on someone is when the opposing defense conspires before hand to put a hurting on one of the opposing players in the game. Typically they would throw in some money and the player who took out the opposing player would get the loot.

Don’t count out Keith Brooking’s return to the Cowboys.  The 36-year-old linebacker said on CBS 11’s The Score that the Cowboys have expressed interest in re-signing him.

The interest is mutual. Brooking believes he can still contribute to an NFL team and wants to finish his career with a contender. He believes the Cowboys are in that category despite missing the playoffs the last two seasons.

“I would love to re-sign with Dallas,” Brooking said. “I feel like this team, I feel like we’re really close.”

The roles of Brooking and longtime starter Bradie James were greatly reduced with Sean Lee’s emergence last season. Jones told reporters that Brooking and James, who are both free agents, shouldn’t be lumped together as far as their potential futures with the teams. It appears that was a hint that the Cowboys were interested in bringing back Brooking, who embraces the mentor role, but not Bradie James.

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