- Todd Archer, ESPN Staff Writer
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IRVING, Texas – With Rob Ryan at least in the mix to be New Orleans' next defensive coordinator -- if he's not already the guy -- let’s play a game of connect the dots involving Anthony Spencer.
The Saints are moving to the 3-4 scheme with or without Ryan as coordinator, which would make Spencer an attractive free-agent fit anyway. By adding Ryan to the mix, the Saints would be an even more likely destination for Spencer, who had his best season under Ryan.
Look at Ryan’s run with the Cowboys as an example. In 2011, the Cowboys signed Kenyon Coleman and Abram Elam, in part because of their pasts with Ryan in Cleveland. In 2012, the Cowboys signed Brodney Pool, who played for Ryan but lasted just a week or so into training camp.
By reconnecting with Spencer in New Orleans, Ryan would have somebody with experience running his defense. He would also have the best available outside linebacker in a 3-4 defense. Spencer had a career-high 11 sacks and was a late add to the Pro Bowl after leading the Cowboys in tackles.
The Cowboys want to keep Spencer, but they might not have the salary cap wherewithal to keep him with a long-term deal. They could place the franchise tag on him for a second straight year at a cost of $10.6 million and could be open to making a trade for picks.