Free agency starts Tuesday afternoon. Obviously, the ending is near for guys like Miles Austin, who is expected to be cut by Wednesday at the latest. Jason Hatcher's days with the Cowboys are in question as he will hit the free-agent market, barring any last-second deal the club reaches with the Pro Bowl defensive tackle.
So those two guys will probably be on the market.
But as for DeMarcus Ware, there really is no big hurry to do something with him. The Cowboys have gotten under the cap by a couple of million. They have a little room to work with if they wanted to sign some marginal free agents.
Now, anything really splashy would call for the Cowboys to create more room, and that's where Ware's deal comes into the picture. That's where the Cowboys will have a little more leverage, probably even suggesting to Ware they can get him some defensive help if he agrees to a pay cut.
I think we all know Ware is going to get a pay cut, somehow, some way and more importantly, somewhere.
If the Cowboys end up cutting him, which saves them about $7.5 million on the cap, he'll sign somewhere else and won't make $12 million in base salary. If he agrees to take a lower base or rework the contract that makes sense for him, it's going to be considerably lower.
Just how considerable is probably the bigger issue here.
My stance on this all along favors the side of Ware. I think he's getting compared unfairly to a contract that is only outrageous because the Cowboys made it that way. They've ballooned this deal out to a $16 million cap charge by extending him over these years. He kept pushing the contract back and doing what was best for the team, and now all of a sudden he's got this enormous figure and his production doesn't match it. [embedded_ad]
Well, whose production matches $16 million? No one said a word when he made $685,000 in base salary during his 2011 season. He got a $5 million bonus that year and his cap charge was about $6.4 million. That's pretty hefty, but it's still a bargain if the guy gives you 19 sacks like he did.
Where was the outcry then? So the Cowboys are in this problem because they've created it. And before we start griping about Ware being injury prone, he's still missed three games in his entire career. Three.
Yeah, he's played banged up and wasn't that effective. Seems like Jason Witten has done that, too and he wasn't very good in those games either.
Personally, I've said this all along: The Cowboys owe it to themselves and to Ware to simply figure it out. They've figured out contracts before and this should be no different.
Both sides need each other, and that's why I still feel like it's going to work out this year.
It just might not happen in the next few days.