Three days ago the Dallas Cowboys released Demarcus Ware, one of the best defensive players in Cowboys franchise history. Ware was drafted in 2005 and compared, by then coach Bill Parcels, to Lawrence Taylor.
Ware put up 117 sacks in his nine years as a Cowboy and was selected to the Pro-Bowl every year from 2006-2012. He had a career low six sacks in 2013 but he missed the first three games of the season with a quadriceps strain. Ware also had a string of 11 seasons in which he had at least 11 sacks. He had a career high 20 sacks in 2008 and almost did it again in 2011 with 19.5 sacks. Ware had three consecutive 15-sack seasons. The only football player ever to have more is NFL Hall of Famer, Reggie White who had five consecutive 15-sack seasons.
If Ware was on of the best defensive players the Cowboys had ever seen, then why release him? Ultimately it comes down to saving money. Set to make $16 million in 2014 the Cowboys saved $7.4 million against the salary cap. The only other possible reason for Ware’s release is due to his recent injury history. Besides the quadriceps strain, Ware had shoulder surgery in the 2012 off season and is now still recovering from elbow surgery. On the subject of Ware’s release Cowboys’ owner and general manager Jerry Jones said,
“A decision like this, involving a man who is a cornerstone player in the history of your franchise, is extremely difficult,
Yes, it must have been a hard decision because now Dallas must find a new pass-rusher to fill Ware’s shoes and help a mediocre defense who, in 2013, had some major issues getting to the quarterback especially without Ware.
Ware was briefly on the free agent market and a number of teams including the Denver Broncos. Ware flew to Denver on Wednesday to speak with the team, who were hoping to sign Ware so that he could team up with Von Miller, like Miller had done with Elvis Dumervil in previous seasons and ultimately improve the team’s defense. Miller and Ware combined could be a deadly pass-rush combination.
I say all that in past tense because after meeting with the Broncos on Thursday, in just the first two days of free agency, Ware signed a three-year $30 million deal. According to ESPN’s Adam Schefter, who first reported the signing, $20 million of that contract is guaranteed.
The Broncos are obviously looking to head back to the Super Bowl in 2014. It appears they want to erase the Super Bowl blowout they had handed to them by the Seattle Seahawks in the last Super Bowl, so they are upping their defensive prowess. The Broncos also signed safety T.J. Ward and cornerback Aqib Talib on Tuesday.
With those signings the Broncos now owe $60 million guaranteed between the three players. Given Broncos’ quarterback Peyton Manning‘s age and short window of time to win another Super Bowl these signings could make a huge impact in the team accomplishing that feat.