According to a Twitter message from Jordan Woy, Spencer's Dallas-based agent, the Cowboys have re-signed Anthony Spencer to a one-year deal.
Happy to announce that Anthony Spencer has resigned with the Dallas Cowboys on a one year deal.— Jordan Woy (@JordanWoy) April 26, 2014
Spencer was franchise-tagged for the second consecutive year last season, but a knee condition limited him to just 38 snaps in the Week 2 game against Kansas City. Spencer subsequently underwent micro-fracture surgery on his left knee in October.
The concern over the status of that knee has had other teams wary of Spencer, who was a free agent this season. Spencer visited both the Redskins and the Giants during free agency, but no deal was arrived at.
Last month, Jordan Woy provided an update on Spencer's knee condition:
"Structurally he is sound," Woy told David Moore of the Dallas Morning News. "Now he is building the strength back and conditioning to get ready for the season.
"He would be very limited in OTA’s, but from what the doctors are telling us, he should be ready to go by preseason and regular season."
Woy's statement matches what Todd Archer of ESPNDallas is hearing: Quoting a source, Archer writes that the team is not certain Spencer will be available for the beginning of training camp.
With the move, and assuming Spencer regains his old form at some point leading up to or during the season, the Cowboys address another hole in their roster that will allow them to enter the draft with less pressure to address specific needs.
With the Spencer signing, the Cowboys have now added four potential starters, or an entire defensive line, to their roster. That line could look as follows:
Anthony Spencer - Henry Melton - Terrell McClain - Jeremy Mincey.
Additionally, the Cowboys have 2012 third-round pick Tyrone Crawford returning, as well as George Selvie, who recorded seven sacks last season playing defensive end. Ben Bass and Nick Hayden provide further depth in a unit that is now a lot deeper than it was at the beginning of free agency.
Also, with news surfacing today that Dee Ford had also been in Dallas for a pre-draft visit, 15 of the 28 players invited for official pre-draft visits are defensive linemen, so the Cowboys are almost certain to pick one or more defensive linemen in the draft in less than two week's time. Though they may not pick as many of those linemen as some fans anticipate.
[Update: Dee Ford did not visit the Cowboys after all. Back to 14 of 27 invited being defensive linemen.]
Regardless of what the financial details of this deal will turn out to be, this is a good deal for both sides. The Cowboys get a proven veteran - and his upside if he returns to full health - at what is likely to be a very steep discount. Also, and this may not be as obvious to many Cowboys fans, Spencer was one of the top remaining players in free agency.
Spencer in turn gets to stay and recuperate in a familiar environment without the pressure that comes with signing for a new team - and a strong performance in a prove-it year could net him a free agent contract next year that could be somewhere between what Jason Hatcher and DeMarcus Ware signed for earlier this year.