The Cowboys' season finale against the Redskins on Sunday is not only a win-or-go-home battle for the NFC East title and the playoffs, but it’s a win-or-good-bye situation for several players whose contracts expire at the end of the season.
Former first-round picks in linebacker Anthony Spencer, cornerback Felix Jones and cornerback Mike Jenkins are among 18 players who may be playing their final game in a Cowboys uniform on Sunday if the Cowboys don't beat the Redskins.
The biggest decision the Cowboys have to make is Spencer, who is getting $8.8 million on the franchise tag this season.
Spencer leads the Cowboys in tackles (99) and has recorded double-digit sacks (10) for the first time in his career, putting himself in line for a big-money contract in free agency. It would cost the Cowboys more than $10 million next season to put the franchise tag on Spencer again.
Linebacker DeMarcus Ware understands he may be in his last days with Spencer on the opposite said and he wants to extend their time together as long as possible.
"You got to take it one game at a time," Ware said. "Spencer is a great player. We know we have one more opportunity to play together. (I don't tell him to take less money), I tell him to play as hard as you can so we can win this game on Sunday."
The other players with expiring contracts are linebacker Victor Butler, cornerback Michael Coe, defensive end Kenyon Coleman, center Phil Costa, guard Derrick Dockery, safety Eric Frampton, long snapper L.P. Ladouceur, safety Danny McCray, punter Brian Moorman, receiver Kevin Ogletree, safety Charlie Peprah, tight end John Phillips, linebacker Brady Poppinga and defensive end Brian Schaefering.