Defensive end Anthony Spencer went from being a Pro Bowl player to free agent wanderer during the offseason but he’ll look to change that this upcoming season.
The New Orleans Saints announced that they signed Spencer this afternoon to a one-year deal which shows a stark contrast from just a few years ago.
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In 2012 the Dallas Cowboys felt so strongly about keeping Spencer that they used the franchise tag on him for $8.856 million.
The reason the Cowboys wanted him back so bad was Spencer seemed on the upswing from 2011 with 66 total tackles, 6 sacks, and 4 forced fumbles.
During the 2012 season Spencer blew up his previous year’s stats with 95 total tackles, 11 sacks, 2 forced fumbles, and one fumble recovery.
Ironically current Saints defensive coordinator Rob Ryan was with the Cowboys in that same role during Spencer’s two best years in 2011 and 2012.
Feb 4, 2015; New Orleans, LA, USA; New Orleans Saints defensive coordinator Rob Ryan watches courtside during the second half of a game against the Oklahoma City Thunder at the Smoothie King Center. The Thunder defeated the Pelicans 102-91. Mandatory Credit: Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports
Spencer was franchised by the Cowboys again in 2013 but due to a nagging knee injury only played in one game where he had 2 tackles.
The 2014 season wasn’t too much better when Spencer played in 13 games plus two playoff appearances where he had 26 total tackles, 1.5 sacks, and 2 forced fumbles.
A far cry from 2012 for sure where he was voted to the Pro Bowl and was set to make his mark in free agency.
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Ironically, Spencer is an alumnus of Purdue University, the same school attended by QB Drew Brees. And like Brees was, Spencer was an All-American at the Big 10 school.
After playing sparingly as a redshirt freshman in 2003, Spencer turned it on as a sophomore in 2004. He finished the year with 33 tackles, 9.5 for loss, and 7.5 sacks, while forcing three fumbles.
Spencer drew more attention as a junior in 2005, and his numbers dipped slightly with 23 tackles, 7.5 sacks, and 3 forced fumbles. Spencer bounced back with a phenomenal senior year in 2006, earning All American honors after posting 86 tackles, 26.5 for loss, and 10.5 sacks.
The Cowboys took him 26th overall in the 2007 NFL Draft.
In free-agency this year, Spencer only had a two ‘major’ visits set up — with the Seattle Seahawks being one and the Saints being the other.
His visit to New Orleans seemed to be so long ago although it was only a few weeks and Spencer’s options seemed to have dried up until today.
I wrote previously if the Saints should sign Spencer and the one sticking point was the “prove it deal” due to his injuries.
With the one-year deal the Saints not only get a veteran player, but one who hopefully will find his career in resurgence and help the team on the field and in the locker room…..