On the day where many teams start adding free agent players to their rosters, the Dallas Cowboys did the exact opposite. They cut two of them. On Tuesday, the NFL Free Agency period officially began. And the Cowboys participated by cutting All-Pro defensive end DeMarcus Ware and veteran wide receiver Miles Austin from the team.
Ware, a nine-year veteran, is coming off the worst statical year of his career. The Cowboys all-time leader in sacks was asked to take a pay cut as he was scheduled to make $26 million in the next two years. The soon-to-be 32 year old refused and opted for free agency. At last count, six playoff teams had inquired about Ware’s services. By releasing him, Dallas now has an addition $7.4 million in available salary cap room. They started the day being an estimated $1.1 million over the cap, with almost no room to sign free agents.
And in news everyone expected, Dallas have officially designated veteran wide out Miles Austin as a June 1st cut. This means Dallas has essentially released the eight-year veteran. But the team’s salary cap will not be affected until June 2nd. The Cowboys are expected to use the $5.5 million of cap space to sign their rookies post-the NFL Draft in May.
Austin was an undrafted rookie free agent out of little known Monmouth in 2006. He spent his first three seasons in Dallas just trying to break into the starting rotation. Miles’ production exploded in 2009, following the release of Terrell Owens, when he recorded 83 receptions for 1,320 yards and 11 touchdowns. But Austin was never the same player after signing a seven-year, $57.168 million contract extension in late 2010. His inconsistent play and numerous hamstring injuries have had Cowboys fans begging for his release for years.
As for Dallas’ signing of free agents, there has been little to no news. On Monday, there was a rumor that the Cowboys were interested in Denver Broncos’ linebacker Wesley Woodyard. Now, with the release of Ware, there are rumors about the teams’ possible interest in his teammate, defensive end Robert Ayers, as well. And, of course, there are those rumblings around Valley Ranch about defensive tackle Henry Melton from the Chicago Bears, but that’s hardly new news. It appears Dallas is taking a more patient approach this offseason, as they haven’t had the best of luck with free agent signings the past couple years.