Monday, March 4, 2013
Spencer and the Saints
By Tim Kavanagh
UPDATE: Well, so much for that idea: Spencer's been franchise-tagged by the Cowboys, according to ESPN NFL Insider Adam Schefter.
Throughout this offseason, one of the primary topics of discussion regarding the Dallas Cowboys has concerned their plans for OLB Anthony Spencer, the team's franchise taggee for 2012: should they retain him, even with another franchise tag? Will he fit in to the new scheme being orchestrated by Monte Kiffin? To this point, there have been no answers, but a lot of speculation as to where he could land if he isn't back in Dallas.
One of the teams mentioned frequently as a potential destination is the New Orleans Saints. The Saints are the current employer of former Cowboys DC Rob Ryan, so there's some familiarity there; in addition, the Saints are in need of an edge rusher to attack opposing backfields, and Spencer could certainly fit that bill. Within the "Offseason Playbook" entry on New Orleans, ESPN Insider's Field Yates provided more analysis on why this could be a match in free agency:
Field YatesOffseason Playbook: New Orleans
"The Saints have major work to do to get under the salary cap, but between releasing veterans and restructuring deals, New Orleans could clear enough cap space to make a run at a player who would be an ideal fit for its new defensive scheme: outside linebacker Anthony Spencer. Spencer, 29, has experience playing for Ryan, totaling 11 sacks in 2012 as the complementary rusher to DeMarcus Ware. But he's more than just a pressure creator. He's versatile enough to set the edge in the running game and was dropped into coverage on occasion under Ryan. The Saints generated just 30 sacks as a team in 2012. Adding a defensive playmaker in Spencer as they transition to their new scheme would be a coup for the organization as it looks to get back on track in 2013. Not all the leftover defensive personnel will translate in Ryan's system, and the offseason will be spent evaluating which players project as building blocks in the 3-4 look. As a top-flight pass rusher on the open market, Spencer won't come cheap. However, he'd serve as part of the defensive foundation for New Orleans under its new leadership."