The Dallas Cowboys are at a crossroads this off-season. They are significantly over the salary cap and yet trying to stay competitive and stay out of the 8-8 rut. The latest rumors are about releasing linebacker DeMarcus Ware. The Cowboys have a tough decision to make and after all the NFL contrary to what sentimental fans believe, is nothing but a business. Gone are the days where team loyalty and players stay forever on one team because of free agency and the salary cap. So the Cowboys need to start timing these releases they are planning to make appropriately because of the salary cap situation and the draft.
From a fans point of view, it’s hard to let go of class act players like Ware but it boils down to simply this: Has the player performed his job well enough to continue to get his pay? If you have questions on that, then it’s obviously time to start looking at dropping the dead weight of the team. Ware is coming off his worst season ever, in my opinion, and although he was injured it is apparent that Ware isn’t 4-3 defense material. When thinking about cutting a superstar such as Ware, you have to look at the business aspect of this not the emotional what he has done, it’s what can he continue to do? There is no use keeping players who have lost steps and who are no longer in their prime especially if they do not seemingly fit into the direction the team is going. The Cowboys do not need to go back and repeat keeping players such as Randy White and “Too Tall” Jones, as they did in the 1980’s.
Almost as important as making the cut, is planning that release around time-frames that the player’s salary has the least affect on the salary cap for that season and also cutting them before or after the draft. In a position like wide receiver, where Dallas isn’t hurting as badly as they are other positions, cutting Miles Austin after the draft has come and gone is going to benefit Dallas in the salary cap but yet not hurt them in the draft because Dallas isn’t expected to snag a wide receiver. Where as, we talk about Ware and we are hurting on defense both starters and for depth purposes, so cutting him before the draft would be beneficial so that if Dallas needs to pick up a player they have the draft to look around.
If Jerry Jones can pull the plug on some of the over-paid under performing veterans who are hindering the cap space, it might show Jerry has educated himself. Maybe it would also start clicking in Jerry’s mind that it’s not alright to mortgage the future for the now, especially since it isn’t working and hasn’t worked.
As hard as it is for the Dallas fan base, we all know players come and players go. It’s nothing personal it’s just the way the current NFL is structured. Sometimes, the hardest things to let go, ends up being the best decisions a team makes.