ARLINGTON, TX - DECEMBER 29: DeMarcus Ware #94 and Morris Claiborne #24 of the Dallas Cowboys celebrate a fumble recovery in the second half against the Philadelphia Eagles at Cowboys Stadium on December 29, 2013 in Arlington, Texas. (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
We’d all love to keep our house, at a lowered monthly mortgage. It’d be nice to keep filling up with gas, for $1 less per gallon. And what boss wouldn’t love to retain his employees’ work load, while reducing their salaries.
Seems like a fantasy world, but that’s exactly what the Cowboys are attempting to pull off with aging star DeMarcus Ware.
While to my eyes it appears Ware, at 32, is injury-riddled and over the hill, Jerry Jones is now making it known that the team would like to keep him for next season and beyond. If, that is, he’ll take a pay cut.
As I wrote last week, having Ware’s leadership in the locker room is an asset. But, despite him being the club’s all–time sacks leader and a certain Ring of Honor member, his play on the field late last season was a liability. The fact that the Cowboys aren’t willing to pay him $16 million in 2014 is good news. But their stance comes with a risk: That Ware will decline and be a former Cowboy.
After last season in which he produced a career-low six sacks, Ware said he would be unwilling to take a pay cut. And there’s the impasse. At $16 million he’s paid like the best player on the Cowboys’ defense, and he’s clearly no longer the Cowboys’ best player on defense.
Ware has been a warrior in Dallas. Played through pain and injuries. Remained steady in turbulent seas. And stayed one of the smiling faces of the franchise during repetitive mediocrity. Does he owe it to the Cowboys to take a pay cut? As an individual, no. He signed a contract and has the right to play it out. But as a teammate in the interest of the greater good, yes. He’s now way overpaid, and taking a cut in salary would help the Cowboys’ spending in free agency.
At this point we’ve got ourselves a good ol’ game of poker. The Cowboys have played their hand: Take a pay cut or … Now it’s up to Ware to accept or decline.
Ware put himself in this position with drastically reduced production. Now he’s on the brink of bargaining himself right out of Dallas.
A native Texan who was born in Duncanville and graduated from UT-Arlington, Richie Whitt has been a mainstay in the Metroplex media since 1986. He’s held prominent roles on all media platforms including newspaper (Fort Worth Star-Telegram, Dallas Observer), radio (105.3 The Fan) and TV (co-host on TXA 21 and numerous guest appearances, including NBC 5). He currently writes a sports/guy stuff blog at DFWSportatorium.com and lives in McKinney with his wife, Sybil, and two very spoiled dogs.