Dallas Cowboys talented pass rusher Anthony Spencer was slapped with the franchise tag last offseason, and he was poised to make some huge bank this offseason once he hit the free agent market. However, Spencer won’t be making close to what he could have received, as he received some horrible luck. Spencer was forced to undergo microfracture surgery in early October, and he ended up appearing in just one game all season as a result. Microfracutre surgery is even more severe than reconstructive surgery needed to repair torn knee ligaments, so there are rightfully some serious worries regarding Spencer’s ability to continue being a high-impact pass rusher. Since he’s 30 (happy birthday to him, by the way), those worries are exacerbated by age, and there’s little doubt that the highest deal Spencer would get on the open market would be a two-year pact.
It will be interesting to see how much money Spencer is able to command on what will likely be a one-year, “prove-it” deal coming off of the severe surgery, but the Dallas Cowboys have interest in keeping Spencer around as the pass rusher opposite of DeMarcus Ware. According to Calvin Watkins of ESPN Dallas, Cowboys VP Stephen Jones stated that the team has interest in re-signing him, “Anthony has been an unbelievable player for us. Very unfortunate what happened to him last year but very productive. Obviously a guy we think a lot of. We franchised him last year, of course, injuries happen in our game. But he’s the type of player you want on your team. We got our fingers crossed and I know he does too on that his injury comes along in the proper way.”
I hope that Spencer can make a full recovery from his knee injury and resume being one of the best pass rushers in the game, and it would great to see him continue his career in Dallas with Ware. George Selvie has emerged as a good pass rusher, but the Cowboys would do well to have a three-man group of Ware, Spencer, and Selvie with Selvie spelling both veteran starters in an effort to keep those guys fresh. Jason Hatcher will be leaving in free agency, so the interior pressure will decline as a result.
The key for the Cowboys is cost, because they aren’t going to overpay for Spencer and aren’t in a position to overpay for a defensive end coming off of a big injury. I doubt he receives significant money elsewhere, and I actually think there’s a great chance he ends up staying with the Cowboys- but we’ll just have to wait and see. There is little doubt that Spencer is an elite pass rusher when at his best, and his agent stated that his client will be ready for training camp this year.