Defensive end Anthony Spencer visited the Washington Redskins and the New York Giants in free agency. But he returned to familiar surroundings, agreeing to terms with the Dallas Cowboys.Spencer’s agent, Jordan Woy, tweeted the news Saturday afternoon.It marks the third consecutive season Spencer has gotten a one-year deal with the Cowboys, the team that drafted him in the first round in 2007. The deal is worth up to $3.5 million. The Cowboys franchised Spencer in 2012 and 2013, paying him $8.8 million and $10.6 million, respectively.Last season, Spencer underwent left knee surgery during training camp. He played only 34 plays during the regular season, making two tackles with two pressures against Kansas City on Sept. 15 before requiring mircrofracture surgery on the same knee.Spencer, 30, continues to rehab at Valley Ranch. The Cowboys don’t know whether he will be ready for the start of training camp. In his seven seasons, Spencer has 32.5 sacks, including a career-high 11 in 2012, but he played outside linebacker his first six seasons. He was adjusting to playing defensive end last season when he was injured.The Cowboys were desperate for help in the defensive line. They had only 34 sacks last season and lost defensive end DeMarcus Ware, the team’s all-time sacks leader, and defensive tackle Jason Hatcher, who led the Cowboys in sacks last season. Ware signed with the Broncos after the Cowboys released him, and Hatcher left for Washington as a free agent.The Cowboys signed defensive tackle Henry Melton, who is expected to replace Hatcher at the three-technique, as well as defensive tackle Terrell McClain and defensive end Jeremy Mincey. Still, the Cowboys are expected to place a priority on getting a defensive lineman early in next month’s NFL Draft.
Charean Williams 817-390-7760 Twitter: @NFLCharean