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What should the Cowboys do with DeMarcus Ware?

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via sbnation.com

With the Cowboys being more than $20 million over the cap, Stephen needs to pull his wand out, and do his magic to get under the cap. One of the players that will need to be considered is DeMarcus Ware. What will happen with him? His current 2014 cap number is $16 million with a base salary of $12.25 million. Obviously, this is a number that needs to come down, especially after his poor 2013 performance. Whether it was injury, age, or something else, there's no denying that Ware has been on the decline. Here are our options.

Trade him. I've seen some people say to trade him for a 1st round pick. However, with his age, salary, and lack of production as a pass rusher in 2013, would anyone give us even a 3rd round pick for him? I doubt it. I can't see anyone giving us anything for him more than a late round pick.

Cut him. If nobody is willing to trade for him, we can cut him and save $7.4 million this season. That's a big savings for the cap. If we made him a June 1st cut, they would save $12.25 million, but we would be on the hook for $5.3 million in 2015. This also limits what we can do before June 1st.

Restructure him. If we restructure him to a base salary of $900,000 this year, then the Cowboys would save $8.5 million. The only problem is that they will be pushing off that $8.5 million into the future.

Ask for a pay cut. Ware originally said that he was a team player, and would do what's the best for the team. The following day, he backtracked by saying he was willing to restructure his deal. However, how is being willing to restructure your deal being a team player? All that a restructure does is turns the current year's salary into a bonus. It takes the non-guaranteed salary and guarantees it, pushing the cap hit into the future, but getting you extra money in your pocket now. I believe that Ware's agent, or someone in his circle, heard what he said, and told him to explain it away by saying he's willing to restructure.

I don't believe that Ware would demand big money on the free agent market. With the stagnated salary cap teams are no longer willing to spend the big bucks in free agency. Below is a list of the top 2013 free agent DE's along with their sack totals and salaries.

Name

Age at signing

Sacks 2011/2012

Years

Total Contract

$/Year

Cliff Avril

26

11/9.5

2

$13 million

$6.5 milliion

Michael Bennett

27

4/9

1

$4.8 million

$4.8 million

John Abraham

35

9.5/10

2

$4.5 million

$2.25 million

Elvis Dumervil

29

11/9.5

5

$26 million

$5.2 million

DeMarcus Ware

31

11.5/6

?

?

?

From this list, we can see that DE's aren't demanding big money deals like a few years back. Based on this, my guess would be that he could get a 2-3 year deal worth $5-6 million/year. So, ideally, I think that asking him to take a $6 million pay cut would work to get him down to a base salary of $6.25 million. However, that is a big pay cut, and he may just say no thank you, I'd like my release. I think that cutting his salary by $4.25 million down to $8 million is a reasonable compromise. He wouldn't get $8 million on the street, but the $4.25 million helps our salary cap.

Of the four options, I'm going with the pay cut first followed by a restructure. If they are able to work out a pay cut, they can save even more with a restructure. A restructure down to a 2014 base salary of $900k would save them another $5.32 million for an overall savings of $9.57 million, but it would push $5.32 million into the future.

I think that this is a win for the team, and it's a better option for Ware than being cut.

Another user-created commentary provided by a BTB reader.

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