Calvin Watkins of ESPN Dallas reports that the Cowboys have interest in re-signing free agent DT Jason Hatcher and DE Anthony Spencer.
- However, Watkins adds that both players have “at least seven teams” outside of the Cowboys with interest right now.
Earlier in the day, Watkins reported that the they are interested in free agent DT Henry Melton as well
Hatcher, 31, is expecting a sizable payday this offseason after a breakout season in 2013. Hatcher totaled 41 tackles, 11 sacks and two forced fumbles last year. He was rated as the No. 8 defensive tackle in the league this past season, according to Pro Football Focus.
Unfortunately for Spencer, he suffered a season-ending ACL injury, so there are going to be some obvious questions regarding his productivity moving forward.
Spencer, 30, had a breakout season in 2012 while playing outside linebacker in Rob Ryan’s defense. He totaled 95 tackles, 11 sacks, two forced fumbles and a recovery. Pro Football Focus had him rated as the No. 1 outside linebacker in a 3-4 defense last year.
We have three of these players featured in our Top 50 Free Agents list.
- Watkins adds that this doesn’t mean that a deal will get done at some point.
- Michael C. Wright of ESPN Chicago previously reported that Melton has “multiple suitors” and fully intends to test the open market next week.
Dallas has come up previously as a team with interest in Melton, so this isn’t a huge shock or anything.
The Cowboys still need to figure out what they are doing with DE DeMarcus Ware, as that could give them some cap space to work with, but it’s still hard to imagine them spending it on a free agent like Melton.
Melton was considered to be one of the better defensive pass-rushers in the league after posting 13 sacks combined in the 2012 and 2013 seasons. A converted running back at the University of Texas, Melton played the crucial “under-tackle” position in the Bears defensive front, which requires a quick, penetrating interior presence.
Melton’s value has taken a hit, after tearing his ACL in the third game of this season, although it sounds like he could do quite well, despite the major knee injury. He is expected to be ready to practice by May.
We have Melton listed as the No. 12 player in our Top 50 Free Agents list.