The Dallas Cowboys suffered a lot of losses to their defensive line over the course of last year and throughout this offseason. Pro Bowl quality players like defensive end DeMarcus Ware and defensive tackles Jay Ratliff and Jason Hatcher currently all reside on other NFL team rosters. But one name that has been left in free agency limbo is All-Pro defensive end Anthony Spencer. But after Saturday, that is no longer the case. According to a message sent out on Twitter by Jordan Woy, Spencer’s agent, the Cowboys have re-signed the seven-year veteran to a one-year deal.
Although Spencer tested the free agent waters this offseason, it’s likely he didn’t find the warm welcome he expected from other suitors. Coming off his only Pro Bowl season in 2012, the 30-year old Spencer spent a majority of last year on the shelf due to microfracture surgery on his knee. For many around the NFL, the term microfracture surgery is often associated with the end of a player’s career.
Although the terms of the deal are yet unknown, the money is unlikely to be anywhere close to what Spencer received in his last two seasons in Dallas.(Update: ESPNDallas is now reporting the amount to be $3.5 million) After failing two straight years to sign the former first round pick in 2007 to a long-term deal, the Cowboys front office opted to franchise tag him instead. That resulted in Dallas paying Spencer $10.6 million last season for a total 34 snaps played.
More than likely, this deal is similar to the one signed by defensive tackle Henry Melton earlier this offseason. In Melton’s contract, the Cowboys have back-loaded the deal to pay the former Pro Bowler significantly less than his perceived worth his first season, with the option to pick up additional years pending his performance in 2014. The free agent defensive tackle is also coming off an injury. In that sense, both players are having to prove they can still play at a high level following their surgeries.
The Cowboys are hoping Spencer can fill the void left by DeMarcus Ware. That should be possible if he can repeat the success of the 2012 season when he recorded career highs in both tackles (95) and sacks (11). Dallas is also hoping that Spencer, who is currently rehabilitating at Valley Ranch, will be ready to participate at the start of training camp which begins in early July.