Welcome To The Future, Cowboys Fans

Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

It hurts to see the Cowboys cut one of the all time greats to wear the Star. But if you ever complained about Dallas not having a real GM, well, this is how a real GM handles things.

One day, DeMarcus Ware will see his name in the Ring of Honor at AT&T Stadium, and a bust in Canton. He is one of the greatest players to ever don the Star. Every Dallas Cowboys fan has to feel sad about seeing him go.

And after they feel sad, every Cowboys fan should be very, very glad this happened. If this is the way the team is being run now, then someone has learned well from the errors of the past.

As great as Ware was, he clearly has a limited number of years, and he is showing signs of wear and tear. He looks to be healthy now, but the problem the past couple of years has not been how healthy he was to start the season. It was how well he could bear up as the season went along. 2013 was the first time he missed games in his career. For the Cowboys, it was time to make a decision about whether they thought that was an aberration, or the beginning of a trend.

Don't forget that Ware was a converted 3-4 OLB. As much as we may have wanted him to excel in the 4-3, it simply may not have been the right scheme for a player of his size and style. There is no way to predict the future, but you can try to determine the odds. And clearly , Cowboys management was adamant that the risk was too great at the $16 million cap cost involved in 2014. When Ware would not agree to a reduced salary to a level the team felt comfortable with (and that would free up some needed cap space), the team, very regretfully, said goodbye.

It was the intelligent, forward thinking thing to do. No matter what happens with Ware at his next stop, whether he has an All Pro year or becomes a non-factor, this was the correct move for the Cowboys. And it was the latest in a series of moves that indicate that things are changing in Valley Ranch. For years, there have been loud and justifiable complaints about Jerry Jones giving out too-generous contracts to players who, if not already in decline, were at an age that made it all but inevitable by the time the contract was up. Sure, he may have a great season.

At last, that seems to have ended. I don't know whether Will McClay has swayed things, whether Stephen Jones has seized control of personnel matters, or Jerry has just finally woken up and smelled the coffee. And I don't care. This is how you run a successful football team in the NFL. You make calculated, logical decisions, and leave the sentiment outside. We should rejoice. Some already are.

Somebody send Jones a bottle of vintage port. He deserves it. Finally, he is behaving like a general manager instead of a fan.

Hallelujah! - ESPN Dallas writer Jean-Jacques Taylor

Think of this as the latest step in an ongoing process that started roughly when Jerry made the decision that Wade Phillips was not the answer at head coach. Since that midseason firing, the team has been moving gradually away from splashy free agent moves, risky contracts that were more about past performance than future value, and drafting by impulse. Sometimes things don't go well, but at least a discernible strategy is becoming clear: Build through the draft, keep select players, try to focus more on second contracts than third, limit your expenditures in free agency, and focus those free agent acquisitions on filling needs, not putting the team over the top. I think this has been building, and I feel Jason Garrett and Stephen Jones have had a lot to do with it, but who exactly is making this happen is not important. That it is happening is huge. There are still issues to be resolved, like how exactly all the coaches are going to work together, but things certainly are moving in the right direction.

It is a colder, harsher way to do business, but that is how you succeed in the business that is the NFL. You have to judge your players impartially. I saw one thing come out today that struck me as a possible turning point that we may have overlooked.

Sometimes, it takes what is called a significant emotional event to get someone to genuinely change their behavior, and that whole slightly sordid episode may have been just that for Jerry Jones, or even the management team as a whole. It is a true irony that the player formerly known as Jay Ratliff may have contributed to the decisiveness in cutting DeMarcus Ware. Ware certainly never betrayed the team in any way, wheres Ratliff was blatant in his malingering to get free from Dallas. The Cowboys parting ways with Ware, however, is likely to benefit both sides. Ware should get more money from someone. And the Cowboys now have someone acting like a real general manager.

I have to wish DeMarcus all the best. Even in his going, he did the team some real good.

Follow me @TomRyleBTB
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