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DeMarcus Ware was Cowboys' version of Dwight Freeney

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Nov 18, 2012; Arlington, TX, USA; Dallas Cowboys cornerback Morris Claiborne (24) – defensive end Anthony Spencer (93) – linebacker DeMarcus Ware (94) – defensive tackle Jason Hatcher (97) – linebacker Bruce Carter (54) – nose tackle Jay Ratliff (90) and cornerback Brandon Carr (39) on the line of scrimmage before a play during the game against the Cleveland Browns at Cowboys Stadium. The Cowboys beat the Browns 23-20 in overtime. Mandatory Credit: Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports

How important is loyalty? For most of us in Cowboy Nation, it’s important and means a lot. Players, even when highly respected by an organization, usually make decisions based on insuring their financial future. The classiest way to say this is often – “I’m doing what’s best for my family.”

Jim Irsay, owner of the Indianapolis Colts, recently moved on from two lifelong players that were fan favorites. I mention Irsay instead of the general manager, Ryan Grigson, because like Jerry Jones, Irsay grabs headlines. Irsay publicly handled the transition from quarterback Peyton Manning (did I have to type quarterback?) to Andrew Luck and the release of Dwight Freeney.

For Cowboy Nation, DeMarcus Ware, Jason Hatcher and Anthony Spencer are our versions of Dwight Freeney.

Player

Age

Draft Position

Year – Round / Overall

Years With Team

Dwight Freeney

34

2002 – 1st / 11th – Colts

11

DeMarcus Ware

31

2005 – 1st / 11th – Cowboys

9

Jason Hatcher

31

2006 – 3rd / 92nd – Cowboys

8

Anthony Spencer

30

2007 – 1st / 26th – Cowboys

7

Dwight Freeney’s production, specifically sack totals, decreased sharply during his last three years with the Colts. In 2013, Freeney signed a two year contract with the San Diego Chargers. Freeney played in 4 games.

Dwight Freeney

Sacks

Year

DeMarcus Ware

Sacks

13.5

2009

11

10

2010

15.5

8.5

2011

19.5

5

2012

11.5

0.5

2013

6

In 2013, Freeney’s made $5.75 million, including a $3.25 million signing bonus and $1.5 million in base salary. His two year contract included an estimated $4.5 million incentive package over the two years.

Those numbers sound reasonable for players in their 30′s, but what are players really worth? I was told things are only worth what someone is willing to pay for them. Anthony Spencer and Jason Hatcher are both unrestricted free agents. Last season, Spencer was injured and with the franchise tag, stole $10 million while Hatcher earned $6 million. Ware’s base salary will be in excess of $12 million with a $16 million dollar cap number. How much more could Spencer and Hatcher earn? Where could Ware go if he doesn’t want to accept a pay cut?

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