Chris Spencer suffers undue scorn. A former first round pick, that replaced a fan favorite and never a favorite of Mike Holmgren, Spencer has played his worst football in his press clippings. Whatever his long-term potential, his latest injury, a grade two tear of his quadriceps, is the beginning of the end of his career in Seattle.
The team anticipated replacing Spencer and drafted Max Unger. Unger doesn't have the pure power of Spencer, but he moves a little better, is more technically sound, and most essential to this discussion, is not a free agent after this season. Unger will be in Blue and making less than a million per season for the next four years. If Seattle was investing in talent, it could justify re-signing Spencer. But with his injury history and the team already having replaced him, his destination is somewhere else, still looking to unlock his talent and paid too much.
The remaining question isn't about Spencer's long-term future, but his short-term future with the team. Seattle would be daft not to slot Unger in at first team center. I expect a production, deference to Steve Vallos' service, high-sounding speech about Unger earning it, but Unger is a center. He's a pro ready center and could be better than Spencer this season. If he is, and the unit begins to gel with him in the middle, can Seattle justify shaking its line up when Spencer recovers?
Anyone who calls Chris Spencer "soft" will be banned. It's juvenile to question another man's toughness.