Before you, the reader, jump to any conclusion(s), let me first start by saying that this is not a conspiracy theory, nor is this an attempt to bash Demarcus Ware. While you may not know me, trust me when I tell you that in barbershop and unfiltered family discussions about football, namely our beloved Dallas Cowboys, I said 2 years ago that Demarcus Ware wasn't going to finish his career with the Cowboys.
**Cue the collective eye-roll of Cowboys' Fans**
In fairness, I said to anyone who would listen that the odds weren't in our favor that premier pass rushers finish their careers with the team that drafted them. The second part of my argument was that Demarcus Ware wanted out of Dallas. Let's deal with my first premise:
Jared Allen, Julius Peppers, Shawn Merriman (Retired), Mario Williams, Dwight Freeney, Elvis Dumervil, Demarcus Ware, Cullen Jenkins, Jason Babin, Osi Umenyora, John Abraham, Jason Taylor, Richard Seymour and the list goes on. What all of these pass rushers have in common is that they are or were at some point in their careers considered to be a "premier pass rusher" and no one them spent their entire career(s) with the team that drafted them. If quarterback is the most important piece of any team, I can argue that a premier pass rusher has to be a top 5 position of importance and in some cases top 3.
The reasons for not being able to keep premier pass rushers are simple really; most of the time, another pass rusher will have a tremendous season while others will have an "ok" year based on the standards set for the upper echelon pass rushers. When one guy cashes in on his epic season, the others want their money too based on their track record. The market value of pass rushers skyrockets and the rest is history. I can spend all day discussing which players and positions aren't worth a certain amount of millions, but this post is about Demarcus Ware.
For most Cowboys fans, yesterday was a dark day, probably ranking behind the day Tom Landry was de-hired and the day we found out that Jimmy Johnson was no longer our coach. But, believe me when I tell you that I saw this day coming 2 years ago. Shortly after Demarcus Ware signed his new deal, remeber telling my brother that the length of the contract wasn't going to work in our favor because Demarcus Ware was already close to 30. The follow 2 seasons Demarcus Ware re-worked his deal to create more cap room and I remember telling him (after the $10M penalty) that he's not going to be here.
Before we go further, understand that 2 years ago, Demarcus Ware tallied 19.5 sacks, the following year, 11.5, last year 6. The news coming out of Dallas was that Ware wasn't and couldn't practice due to his plethora of disclosed injuries (elbow, neck, quad, shoulder) and was shell of his 2011 and 2008 shelf. The Cowboys looked at the $16M cap hit that their 31-going on-32 year old pass rusher was going to take and his dimishing skills set - due to injury - and asked him to take a pay cut; this kids is where the blame has to rest with the Cowboys front office. Continuing to rework deals and back load them for aging players is bad business. Demarcus Ware's cap hit was their problem, not his, however I still believe that he wanted out of Dallas and here's why.
Whether he felt disrespected at the notion of taking a pay cut when Tony Romo just received a $100M contract or their valued Sean Lee and Tyron Smith and Dez Bryant more is irrelavent. There is not a team in the league that is going to pay Demarcus Ware $12M dollars or have him on their roster with a $16M cap hit, especially considering his injury history his stacking up faster than Baltimore Ravens' players arrest, he'll be 32 during the season and the stats say/show that his skills are diminishing. Furthermore, either way Demarcus Ware is/was going to take a pay cut, either with Dallas or some other team.
Denver has emerged as his favorite and likely landing spot (smells like he's chasing a ring and I for one am not routing for him to get...sorry I'm not sorry) and I can't see Denver 1. Paying him more than $6-$8M on a 2 year deal and 2. Being able to offer more than $6-8M over 2 years. It's for these reasons that it's clear that Demarcus Ware wanted out of Dallas. I get that he is always going to be a favorite of Cowboys Nation and that he's easily one of the top 10 players in franchise history, but he let pride in his past cloud his judgement. If the issue was really about taking a pay cut, then his agent would have advised him that testing free agency would only yield what the Cowboys' proposed pay cut would have been. Granted, we don't know what the proposed pay cut was, but with a base salary of $12M and a cap hit of $16M, I'm assuming that the proposed tax cut would have only paid him $6M-8M with other incentives to earn close to $10M. And in picking Denver (if he does indeed sign with them), Ware picked more than a team/QB; he picked a weak division without a premier LT that he would have to face (but the Broncos do face the NFC West this year).
The reason why no analyst, pundit, writer or blogger is bringing this point up is because it's the Dallas Cowboys and no matter what the organization does, the media buzz generally gets in the way of rational thinking. People lambasted Romo's new contract, but the rational question was who else was out there for the Cowboys to take over Romo? I say this to say to you, loyal fan and/or reader, don't let the shock or sting of Demarcus Ware not wearing "The Star" this coming season prevent you from thinking rationally. He wanted out of Dallas to get a ring and that's fine, but because it's Demarcus Ware, no one is saying so I decided to say it for them. You may be hoping that Ware gets the ring he deserves, I won't be because this had nothing to do with a paycut and when you see the figure he signs for, and you find yourself upset, I'll be the guy and fan waiting to say, "Told Ya."