It didn’t seem too long ago when the Cowboys viewed DE/OLB as a higher priority than future hall of famer Demarcus Ware. Now they are both free agents due to the salary cap, oh how the mighty have fallen. Ware recently signed with the Broncos in hopes of chasing a ring. Ware was released last week due to the Cowboys’ lack of salary cap room and Spencer is a free agent who the Cowboys are going to be unable to resign.
Anthony Spencer has a visit scheduled with the Giants but not much more due to a knee injury that robbed him from the 2013 season. To say the Dallas defense suffered without Spencer was an understatement. They finished the season allowing 6,645 yards and 432 points.
Spencer was valued by the Cowboys because of his unique skill set to play effectively as an outside linebacker and defensive end. The Atlanta Falcons will look to find players similar to Spencer in the draft and free agency due to a change in defensive philosophy but they must sign Anthony Spencer to have a shot at a smooth transition to a hybrid defense.
First and foremost, Spencer’s ability to play with his hand in the dirt and standing up is a commodity that is very rare in today’s NFL. He will also serve as a valuable mentor to a new pass rusher that the Falcons are all but confirmed to draft this May.
Roddy White also hinted to the future signings of players in Spencer’s mold:
If we get a D end in free agency it will have to be a guy that stands up because we are playing a 3-4 this year
— Roddy White (@roddywhiteTV) March 14, 2014
Many critics will wonder why the Falcons would sign a 30 year old linebacker who missed 15 games last season and may not be ready for the start of training camp. The answer is simple: his skill set is too valuable to not take a look at. Spencer, unlike Osi Umenyoria stands up well against the run and before his injury was an effective every down player. Something that Umenyoria will never be able to boast at this stage of his career.
The Falcons were not able to sign Demarcus Ware due to the success of the Denver Broncos but Spencer will be a nice consolation prize not only for his ability but also for his asking price.
Coming off a shortened 2013, Spencer’s asking price will not be very high. To me he might want to pursue a one-year deal due to the fact that he could seek a long term deal if he performs well this season. His asking price should be anywhere between $5-6 million, which the Falcons will be able to afford because they are currently $9 million under the cap for the 2014 season.
The addition of Spencer will be a positive signing for both parties involved. The chance to sign him is there and the Falcons should give him a call and attempt to sign him in order to shore up their defense as well as assist to a multiple front defense.