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Sunday, March 16, 2014
Spencer only makes sense if he's cheap

By Dan Graziano
ESPN.com

Free-agent pass-rusher Anthony Spencer, late of the Dallas Cowboys, was visiting the New York Giants on Sunday. The Giants are looking to add depth at defensive end after Justin Tuck signed with the Raiders and their Tuesday deal with O'Brien Schofield fell apart over the physical. Spencer had 11 sacks for the Cowboys in 2012, so on paper he surely qualifies.

Spencer
But I don't know. This one feels like a stretch, and my first reaction is that Spencer only makes sense for the Giants if he's some kind of excellent bargain. He's 30 years old and missed all but one game of the 2013 season with a knee injury that required microfracture surgery. He played the first six years of his career as a standup outside linebacker in a 3-4 front, and because of the injury no one got to see how he'd translate to 4-3 defensive end when the Cowboys switched to that front last year. Until 2012, he'd never had more than six sacks in a season, though he always was known as a strong run defender, which was a Tuck calling card as well.

To me, if you're going to sign Spencer, the question is why not just re-sign Tuck, who's only 10 months older, is coming off a healthy 11-sack season of his own, knows the scheme, was one of your defensive captains and wanted to stay?

The only answer I can think of that would make sense is that Spencer comes dirt-cheap because of his injury. It's worth it for the Giants to find out if he'll take a small prove-it kind of deal and slot into the pass-rush rotation along with Damontre Moore and Mathias Kiwanuka opposite Jason Pierre-Paul. But if the price isn't right, there are more reasons to pass on this guy than there are to stretch to sign him.