December 30, 2012; Landover, MD, USA; Washington Redskins quarterback Robert Griffin III (10) is tackled by Dallas Cowboys outside linebacker Anthony Spencer (93) at FedEx Field. The Redskins won 28-18. Mandatory Credit: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

The Dallas Cowboys' Most Likely Free Agent Acquisition May Just Be …

For as anticlimactic as this sounds, Anthony Spencer may very well be the Cowboys big free agent acquisition of the offseason. The Cowboys recently hosted free agents Henry Melton and Jared Allen. Both defensive linemen are thought to be among the best remaining free agents on the market. They also appear to be the most in demand.

Multiple teams are currently vying for Melton and Allen’s services so it’s a pretty safe assumption Dallas will not be getting any bargain deals from either. All reports indicate (including Rainer Sabin from DMN) that the Cowboys remain in talks with each player – but so are a handful of other teams. Actual demands are unknown but a couple assumptions can be made.

Dec 29, 2013; Minneapolis, MN, USA; Minnesota Vikings defensive end Jared Allen (69) celebrates a sack during the first quarter against the Detroit Lions at Mall of America Field at H.H.H. Metrodome. Mandatory Credit: Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports

Assumption #1 Jared Allen will be asking for DeMarcus Ware type of money.

Allen feels a little disrespected and has threatened to retire rather than play for less than market value. With Ware and Peppers getting similar 3 yr $30M deals (Peppers slightly less), you can bet Allen wants the same.

All three players are extremely comparable in age, production, potential, and position. Allen expects to be paid comparably too.

Oct 1, 2012; Arlington, TX, USA; Chicago Bears defensive tackle Henry Melton (69) sacks Dallas Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo (9) during the first quarter at Cowboys Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports

Assumption #2 Henry Melton wants this to be the biggest contract of his career.

After playing under the franchise tag last season in Chicago, Melton sees 2014 as his chance to sign his big contract. The heralded – Second Contract is known as the biggest contract for a typical NFL player.

It’s a contract where the player is still in his physical prime (26-28) and can theoretically play the entirety of the deal without much physical decline.

Early thoughts about Melton were that he would play at a reduced rate since he’s coming off of major knee surgery. That ain’t happening now. Melton is looking to cash in.

Meanwhile Anthony Spencer has been making the free agency rounds too. He hasn’t received near the level of pomp and circumstance his counterparts have, but perhaps he should. He may be returning from injury, but Spencer’s game has never centered around physical (Speed or Strength) dominance. Spencer has always been a well-rounded athlete who plays with ability AND fundamentals.  Not flashy but extremely effective. The kind of player who can successfully bounce back from knee injury.

Early indications say the teams Spencer has been meeting with, are looking for a discount based on age, injury, and modest sack numbers. Those same flashy numbers that Cowboy fans have been harassing Spencer for, may just drive Spencer back in the arms of this familiar lover.

Dec 16, 2012; Arlington, TX, USA; Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger (7) is hit as he throws by Dallas Cowboys linebacker Anthony Spencer (93) during the second half at Cowboys Stadium. The Cowboys won 27-24 in overtime. Mandatory Credit: Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports

They are only whispers at this point but those whispers make perfect sense. Spencer, at age 30, may have missed out on the big – Second Contract. His production decline could begin at any time, so teams are hesitant to sign a player like him (his age and coming off of injury) to a long-term deal.

The Cowboys and Spencer have always shared a great relationship, so there would be no ill-will impeding honest negotiations.

How much would it cost to sign Spencer?

That’s tough to say.

The Spencer Camp has been publically tight-lipped. But at this point it appears Spencer may provide the best value with least amount of commitment compared to the other two.

Good or bad – it’s starting to like Spencer may be the Cowboys most likely free agent acquisition. So what say you? Is that good or bad?

Do you have questions or comments regarding Dallas area sports? Email Reid at [email protected]. You may be included in the next weekly mailbag. Follow Reid on twitter @ReidDHanson

Tags: Anthony Spencer Dallas Cowboys Henry Melton Jared Allen

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