Spence was placed on the reserve/non-football injury list since the injury did not occur as part of New Orleans' offseason training program -- which was canceled because of the coronavirus pandemic. That means he can't play for the Saints this year and won't count against their 90-man roster. NFL Network was the first to report the nature of Spence's injury.
Situations like this could add another wrinkle to these unusual offseason circumstances. Teams aren't required to pay salaries in the cases of "non-football" injuries. But they could decide to work out injury settlements or place players on injured reserve when rosters are trimmed in September and continue paying them.
Spence, 26, was scheduled to make $910,000 on a one-year deal if he made the Saints' 53-man roster. He would have counted $750,000 against their salary cap as part of the veteran minimum salary benefit.
The fifth-year pro originally joined the Saints in December after being released by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Washington Redskins earlier in the 2019 season. He was a healthy inactive for all four games with New Orleans, including the playoffs. But he had a chance to earn a roster spot this year to provide depth behind starters Cameron Jordan and Marcus Davenport.
Spence (6-foot-2, 251 pounds) began his career as a second-round draft pick with the Buccaneers in 2016 and had a terrific rookie season with 5½ sacks and three forced fumbles.
His production has tailed off since, however, in part because of a nagging shoulder injury that limited him to six games in 2017. Spence had just two sacks and one forced fumble in 25 games played over the past three seasons.