Spencer dealt with knee issues all year, limiting him to just a Week 2 game at Kansas City. Eventually, Spencer underwent microfracture surgery. As he enters his free agent year, he'll have to prove to NFL teams he's healthy enough to play.
The Cowboys, which made Spencer a first-round pick in 2007, are open to a return. Spencer was franchised the past two seasons and was hoping to get a long-term deal from not only the Cowboys but some other team this spring.
His health has put that on hold and he might have to settle for a shorter contract from a team.
"Anthony has been an unbelievable player for us," said Cowboys executive vice president Stephen Jones, who said the Cowboys are open to bringing Spencer back. "Very unfortunate what happened to him last year but very productive. Obviously a guy we think a lot of. We franchised him last year, of course, injuries happen in our game. But he's the type of player you want on your team. We got our fingers crossed and I know he does too on that his injury comes along in the proper way."
Spencer had his breakout season in 2012 when he was named as an injury replacement to the Pro Bowl. Spencer finished with a career-high 11 sacks and had eight tackles for loss and 26 quarterback pressures.
Spencer and his agent, Jordan Woy, couldn't agree to terms on a long-term deal with the Cowboys last summer after the team franchised him again. But Spencer just couldn't get healthy as he struggled to overcome a bone bruise in his knee that turned out to be far worse than expected. Spencer couldn't finish one practice during training camp and had hoped to play in the regular-season opener.
He did return for the Chiefs game, coming off the bench and getting two tackles and two quarterback pressures. His knee issues didn't go away and after further examination it was determined he needed surgery.
Woy said recently his client should be ready for training camp in 2014, which is a good sign for Spencer.
The Cowboys would be willing to do something but the contract will be a sticking point.
Do you give Spencer a one-year deal? Maybe a two-year deal?
That's something the Cowboys and Spencer will have to talk about this spring.