I love Demarcus Ware and what he meant to the Dallas Cowboys. DWare is the all-time leading sack artist in franchise history and he was the heart and soul of the Dallas defense for a lot of years. One day soon expect to see Jerry Jones induct #94 into the Ring of Honor. That does not mean that the Dallas Cowboys should become a player in a bidding war for Ware’s services.
Let’s look at this from an objective standpoint rather than through blue and silver colored glasses. DeMarcus Ware is going to turn 35 right around the time that training camp rolls around. He will be entering his thirteenth NFL season. Very few men are blessed with the physical stamina to take the kind of physical abuse that professional football inflicts for that many years, regardless of the position played.
War in the trenches of the National Football League is a special kind of hell. Not only will Ware be testing the limits of what he can endure, he will be doing so against the biggest and strongest men on the field, offensive tackles. This escalates the amount of stress that will be placed on his body with every snap that he is able to play.
Ware’s body is already showing the results of his long-term service in the trenches. As far back as the 2012 season, the toll of the game was beginning to catch up with him. Ware battled through a hamstring issue that limited his performance as well as playing through the closing quarter of the NFL season with his arm in an elbow and shoulder harness.
After a rebound for the the 2013 season the Cowboys said goodbye to their long time OLB/DE and he had a successful debut with the Denver Broncos the following year before health issues again began to impact his utility. Ware missed nearly a third of the season due to recurring back issues. The 2016 season was more of the same, Ware missed several weeks with a surgical procedure on his arm. He returned to action only to see the season cut short when he was forced to undergo a second surgical procedure. The second operation was to address the issues that had plagued his back the previous season and which were obviously still impacting his play in 2016.
Now, as he is set to become a free agent, Ware tells us that he is as good as new and that he feels better than he has in 18 months. What else would a player in that situation say?
The human body is not built to withstand the rigors of playing professional football. DeMarcus Ware has stood up to the abuse better than most during his 12 professional seasons, but Father Time has caught up with him. His health and durability are now a subject of great concern, the Dallas Cowboys have been down this road before. We heard the same things with another beloved defensive lineman, Jay Ratliff. More recently we have witnessed the wear and tear on Tony Romo. The reward is not worth the associated risk.
There is no reason for the Cowboys to put themselves and the team through that situation again. DeMarcus Ware’s time has passed. When he decides to hang up the cleats I would like nothing more to see him sign a one-day contract with the club and retire as a Cowboy. Beyond that, as much as it pains me to say so, there is no place in Dallas for DeMarcus Ware as a player. The team has moved on from signing injured and aging veterans. To now sign Ware would be a regression and a repudiation of the movement that has brought the Cowboys back to relevance in the NFL.