Spencer was tagged for a second consecutive year by the Cowboys after notching 11 sacks in 2012. Set to earn $10.6 million this season, Spencer will be converting to defensive end in the 4-3 scheme being installed by new coordinator Monte Kiffin.
Melton is coming off his best season with the Bears, emerging as one of the NFL’s top interior pass rushers. His franchise-tag salary will be $8.5 million.
The other six franchise players are Miami defensive tackle Randy Starks, Indianapolis punter Pat McAfee, Denver left tackle Ryan Clady, Cincinnati defensive end Michael Johnson, Buffalo safety Jairus Byrd and Kansas City left tackle Branden Albert. All are expected to remain with their respective teams in 2013 as any interested suitor would have to surrender two first-round draft picks as part of an offer sheet that could be matched.
Players who are franchised have until July 15 to sign long-term contracts with their team. Otherwise, new deals cannot be completed until the start of the free-agent signing period in 2014.