It’s not going to feel right seeing DeMarcus Ware in another uniform. It’s not going to feel right seeing him pick up a sack for another team. It’s not going to feel right seeing him be a leader on another defense.
But as painful as it is for the Dallas Cowboys and their fans, releasing DeMarcus Ware today was the right thing to do.
This was probably one of the hardest and gutsiest things Jerry Jones has had to do during his tenure a the Cowboys owner/general manager. In the past, Jerry has grown attached to players, but now it’s clear that he know he has to do what is necessary. Even if it means adding another hole to an already bad defense.
Ware has been a fixture for the Cowboy defense since 2005, accumulating 117 sacks during his time in Dallas. But last season, Ware missed three games and only put up six sacks for the worst defense in the league. Various injuries and age are factors that could be attributed to Ware’s lack of production last season, which is why the Cowboys wanted him to take a pay cut.
Ware had every right to refuse to take a pay cut after everything he’s done for Dallas. There was his 20 sack season in 2008. Plus, who could forget his gritty performance in 2009 when he played a crucial role in the Cowboys handing the New Orleans Saints their first loss of that season, after sustaining a nasty looking neck injury the game before. The three games that Ware missed last season were the only games that he ha ever missed in his career. But that doesn’t change that fact that Ware will be 32 this summer and has had to deal with a ton of injuries the past few seasons. Sure, maybe Ware could be rejuvenated and he could go back to being a very good pass rusher, but it’s not worth it to hope that happens and pay him millions while he keeps declining.
Part of Ware’s decline last year could be attributed to the Cowboys moving from a 3-4 defense to a 4-3 under Rod Marinelli. Ware clearly didn’t seem comfortable playing a defensive end in the 4-3, and when you combine that with all of the injuries he had, it just wasn’t going to go right. The Cowboys, however, are insistent upon moving forward with the 4-3 and not going back to a 3-4. If that’s the case, then it doesn’t make sense to keep a player like Ware who fits much better in a different system.
The Cowboys are already a salary cap mess, so paying a player that is aging and doesn’t fit with what they want to do on defense makes no sense. Even if that player is DeMarcus Ware. The Cowboys will now have to go out in free agency and at least try to bring in some defensive linemen that fit their 4-3 scheme, and it now becomes even more crucial that Jerry and company don’t screw up the upcoming draft.
It is definitely a painful time for everyone associated with the Cowboys. It’s disappointing that Ware was not able to hoist a Lombardi Trophy during his Dallas tenure, but I don’t doubt that his name will one day end up in the Ring of Honor. Parting with him was the right thing to do, but no one will ever forget what he meant to this organization. The one thing that can’t be debated: it has been an honor and a privilege watching No. 94 go to work.