As the ongoing saga of DeMarcus Ware’s future with the Dallas Cowboys continues, rumors regarding the relationship between player and team have been as diverse as the players on the Cowboys’ roster. Respected members of the media have provided conflicting reports that Ware will/won’t take a pay cut and will/won’t be cut before the start of the 2014 NFL free agency period. The former is a foregone conclusion at this point, but the latter is a tough decision for Dallas, and Ware has requested a decision be made about his future now.
It’s pretty much obvious at this point Ware won’t be taking a pay cut, but a restructured contract is still an option to give the Cowboys more salary cap space to use this offseason. That will make his cap number even bigger in 2015, but Dallas has made it clear it isn’t happy with him playing in 2014 while counting over $16 million against the cap.
Since the pay cut is basically off the table and the Cowboys apparently have the say in his contract restructure, Ware has asked the team to make a decision about his future by the time the free agency signing period officially begins at 4:00 p.m. ET on Tuesday. Again, that suggests it’s either a contract restructure and a do-or-die 2014 season or a Ware will be looking for work by Tuesday afternoon.
Sure, the Cowboys really need more cap space, but they simply can’t afford to release Ware at this point. He had a down year in 2013 and his health is a concern moving forward, but it’s really hard to overlook his 117 career sacks, which are the most in franchise history.
As tough of a decision as it is, the Cowboys should bite the bullet, keep Ware and hope he returns to form in 2014. With Jason Hatcher all but gone, the team can’t afford to enter the season with George Selvie and Tyrone Crawford as the starting defensive ends for Rod Marinelli’s first year as defensive coordinator. It’s Jerry Jones’ fault the team is in this horrible financial situation in the first place, but banking on these youngsters improving the league’s worst defense statistically from 2013 is a bad idea, as much as Ware’s cap number will hurt.