Since being drafted by the Dallas Cowboys in 2005, DeMarcus Ware has been an elite linebacker. His 117 sacks and seven consecutive double digit sack seasons will always be remembered. But the Cowboys are in a whole, a big one.
The Cowboys currently sit at $32.7 million over the salary cap, the highest in the NFL. There’s no doubt that Jerry Jones will be making some big cuts and try to relieve some huge cap space. Unfortunately, Ware is coming off a six sack season and elbow surgery. His value may not seem as high as his potential.
This is very unlikely because of Ware’s age, contract, and somewhat declining performance. Ware, who turns 32 years old in July 2014 still has two years left on his contract. If paid in full, he would make $26 million off the final two years. Pretty unlikely a team will trade for that. The Cleveland Browns are $38.2 million under the cap and could definitely afford him, but would they want him?
It would be sad to see such a great franchise player cut, but it may be the best choice for the team. According to ESPN, if the Cowboys cut Ware this off-season, it would save $7.4 million in cap space. Maybe releasing your best defensive player over the last decade is the best option. Will Ware really restructure his contract and take a lot less? Probably not. The only risk here is, what of Ware joins an NFC East rival?
Why not keep him, right? He’s earned it. Ware has only had one bad season so maybe we’re overreacting when we say he’s “done and over the hill.” Maybe it was just one bad year. It’s possible that Ware could come back and play better than last year, when he had to adapt to a new scheme and defensive coordinator. Ware is only under contract for two more seasons, so why not let him finish his fantastic career as a Cowboy?
It will be interesting to see what happens to DeMarcus Ware this offseason.