Where Will Ware be in 2014?
DeMarcus Ware is set to go into the Cowboys Ring of Honor and the NFL Hall of Fame whenever the appropriate dates arrive. He’s had a spectacular career with the Cowboys, but how much longer will that career last? The Cowboys are asking Ware to take a pay cut to help them get under the salary cap. The truth is, they don’t really need Ware to take the cut to reach the cap, they’d just like to cut his pay because they see his productivity diminishing. Ware missed the first three games of his career in 2013 and he finished with just 6 sacks. He’ll be 32 when the 2014 season begins. For those reasons, Jerry wants Ware to go down in pay next year when he’s scheduled to make $12.5 million, and in 2015 when his number is $13.5 million.The talk is that the Cowboys want to drop Ware to around $9 million each of the next two seasons with incentives based on playing time and sacks, that would put him back to the $12-$13 range. Most of the time I think the way the NFL runs their business is the way all sports leagues should do it. The players get what they earn, but if they stop performing, the pay either drops or goes away altogether. The NFL doesn’t get strapped with guaranteed contracts for players who are way past their prime like baseball, basketball and hockey do. It’s smart business – not always popular – but smart.
But in the case of DeMarcus Ware, he has reason to hesitate at the deal. Just last summer the same Jerry Jones who’s trying to cut his salary, gave Tony Romo a new 6 year deal for $108 million. Romo hasn’t been to as many Pro Bowls as Ware, isn’t regarded as one of the top 3 or 4 at his position, has been injured a lot more than and is older than Ware. So I’m sure Ware looks at that situation and asks, “Why am I the guy taking the hit?” Point taken.
- Last year the Cowboys did basically the same thing with tackle Doug Free, but Free was coming off a terrible year and didn’t have nearly the history that Ware has. It’s one thing to ask Doug Free to take a hit, it’s another to do it to a future Hall-of-Famer. Ware may just get pissed off enough to tell Jerry forget it and see if they cut him. Doing so would save Jerry a bunch on the cap but at just 32 Ware should have at least 3 or 4 more top level years left. How bad would it be if those years came wearing an Eagles uniform?
NFL owners are generally smart guys and they know what a great thing they have going. The amount of the player payroll is almost exactly the same as the annual television contract with the networks -meaning the owners have the TV money to cover payroll, then everything else – parking, ticket sales, suites, signage, local radio and TV deals etc. – go right into their pockets. Printing money. But for a player like Ware, who the Cowboys got cheap out of Troy State and watched him develop into a stud, may have to over-pay him a bit at the end of his career, well so be it. A fair deal all the way around. Jerry can’t let greed get in the way of smarts…oh yea, I forgot, we’re talking about Jerry!