The Dallas Cowboys have placed their franchise tag on outside linebacker Anthony Spencer, keeping him from becoming an unrestricted free agent.

In tagging Spencer he will be guaranteed a base salary of about $8.8 million next season.

He has started 53 of 76 games in his five seasons with the Cowboys, starting all but one game the past three seasons. Spencer finished last season with 66 tackles, six sacks and four recovered fumbles.

Since being drafted in the first round of the 2007 NFL Draft, Spencer has recorded 364 tackles, 21.5 sacks, 21 tackles for loss, 94 pressures, 12 pass breakups and nine forced fumbles.

This marks the third time Dallas has used the franchise tag on a player since its inception in 1993. The other two were Flozell Adams [2002] and Ken Hamlin [2008].