Every year the Dallas Cowboys are trying to find the most financially responsible way to maintain their roster. Sometimes it means making drastic moves like cutting some big-money contracts, other times it means allowing some key players to walk away in free agency. Oftentimes, those moves don’t meet the approval of the Cowboys fan base, but so is the way of Jerry and Stephen Jones. It’s just business as they like to say.
Sometimes the Cowboys miss those who have departed and other times they don’t. In the grand scheme of things, the Cowboys front office typically comes out looking wiser for moving on from players; however, there are some who, after leaving Dallas, find another reward waiting for them in the form of a Super Bowl championship. Let’s take a look at a few players who have left the Cowboys only to find themselves finally playing in February.
DeMarcus Ware had an incredible career in the NFL. He finished with 138.5 sacks with 117 of them coming in Dallas. But after seven seasons where he had more than 10 sacks a year, Ware’s numbers declined in 2013 as he finished with just six. And with him on the wrong side of 30, the Cowboys decided to release him in 2014 rather than paying his 2014 salary of $12.5 million.
Ware was quickly picked up by the Denver Broncos. And while he didn’t command quite the money he would’ve been owed in Dallas, the Broncos did sign him to a three-year, $30 million deal. Ware ultimately ended up taking a pay cut a few years later, but he still earned $26.3 million of his deal with Denver. He also earned a Super Bowl ring as he helped the Broncos take home the Lombardi trophy in 2015 with a 24-10 win over the Carolina Panthers. While Ware never eclipsed the 10-sack mark in any of his three years in Denver, he was a key player on their defense and even came up with two sacks during his Super Bowl win. Despite being overlooked in his first year of eligibility, Ware’s enshrinement into the Pro Football’s Hall of Fame is coming.
It’s hard to blame the front office for not ponying up the cash for a player who they don’t think commands such a huge contract. And that was their sentiment in the offseason of 2018 when they let Anthony Hitchens go in free agency. The smart, reliable linebacker signed a five-year, $45 million deal with the Kansas City Chiefs. Hitchens went on to record a career-high 135 tackles his first year with the Chiefs which was more than 50 tackles he had in any of his seasons in Dallas. And in his second year with Kansas City, he helped his new squad win the Super Bowl with a 31-20 win over San Francisco.
While in hindsight, it’s easy to say the Cowboys let the wrong linebacker get away, but keep in mind that both Leighton Vander Esch and Jaylon Smith were coming off strong seasons in 2017. And the Chiefs took full advantage. In fact, that 2019 Kansas City championship team had a slew of former Cowboys players on their roster that season, which included Charvarius Ward, Damien Wilson, Morris Claiborne, and even Joey Ivie.
Chido was a reliable cornerback for the Cowboys throughout his entire rookie contract in Dallas. Unfortunately, he was never able to take that next step and was constantly losing contested battles with receivers because he never got his head turned around to make a play on the ball. So, when Awuzie signed a three-year deal worth almost $22 million with the Cincinnati Bengals last offseason, Cowboys fans didn’t even bat an eye. He’s a solid player, but that price seemed too steep.
That doesn’t not seem the case anymore as Chido is coming off his best season as a pro, helping the Bengals defense march through way through the playoffs and on to the big game.
CB:— Ace Boogie (@NewStripeCity) January 19, 2022
Player A: 538 receiving yards, 56% rec%, 189 YAC, 3 TDs, 3 INT, 10 PBU, 73.4 Passer Rating
Player B: 609 receiving yards, 64% rec%, 254 YAC, 3 TDs, 4 INT, 12 PBU, 75.3 Passer Rating
Player A: Chidobe Awuzie
Player B: Jalen Ramsey
Keep sleeping on Chido
While Awuzie’s contributions would help any team, the Cowboys cornerback group is coming off a strong season themselves. The secondary as a unit led the NFL in interceptions. And sure, Trevon Diggs is the biggest reason for that with his 11 picks, but both Anthony Brown and Jourdan Lewis are coming off career-high seasons in interception, each having more picks than Awuzie had this year. Is Chido really missed in Dallas?