The Cowboys are putting the franchise tag on Anthony Spencer for the second straight year, this time after he significantly boosted his bargaining power with his best season in Dallas.

The team announced the move Monday and Spencer's agent, Jordan Woy, wrote in a tweet that negotiations on a long-term contract would continue for the Cowboys' 2012 sacks leader; Spencer had a career-high 11.

The Cowboys released safety Gerald Sensabaugh to clear $1.4 million under the salary cap and have dumped more than $20 million in cap money in the past week by reworking contracts with several veterans.

Dallas, which was penalized $5 million off its cap in both 2012 and 2013, could clear more space by releasing other players or reworking more deals, including that of quarterback Tony Romo.

The franchise tag for Spencer comes with the Cowboys switching from the 3-4 defense to the 4-3, which likely will mean a move to defensive end for Spencer after six years at outside linebacker.

The labor deal reached in 2011 specifies that players must be tagged under their primary position the previous season. Spencer is getting the non-exclusive tag, which puts his 2013 salary designation at $9.6 million if he doesn't sign a long-term contract. He made $8.8 million with a one-year tender last season.