Today feels much like one that happened exactly 13 years and five days ago.
We all remember where we were when we heard the news that the Dallas Cowboys had released franchise quarterback Troy Aikman. While some felt that the move was somewhat likely, others were blindsided.
Aside from the shock and finality of Aikman’s sudden departure, the biggest issue moving forward was who exactly was going to be playing quarterback in Dallas?
Well, if you don’t remember how the following half-decade went at that position, don’t bother educating yourself—it’s quite ugly.
Tuesday’s more anticipated release of franchise sack-leader DeMarcus Ware leaves those who remember Aikman’s final chapter asking the same question:
Where do the Cowboys go from here?
I don’t have that answer, but I will say that owner and general manager Jerry Jones made the right decision surrounding one of his greatest draft picks as an NFL executive.
The reality is that despite having the league’s best pure pass-rushing specialist for at least seven seasons, the Cowboys have a single playoff victory to show for Ware’s remarkable career in Dallas. This fact has much more to do with the supporting cast surrounding the former Troy University defensive end, and this includes offense. Ware simply played for the Cowboys at the wrong time, period.
I can’t blame Ware for declining to take a pay cut. The reality is that this particular player needs to playing outside linebacker in the same 3-4 alignment that made him great during his first eight seasons in the NFL. I look for teams like the Baltimore Ravens, San Francisco 49ers, New England Patriots, New Orleans Saints and virtually all other 3-4 organizations to be salivating at the chance to get Ware at a price much less than what he would have cost in Dallas this season.
Good for them—let them figure out the dollars and cents on that, and then hope that Ware isn’t fading as quickly as his recent medical history definitely suggests.
As for the Cowboys, it’s simple. All heads can turn to the crop of young, fresh 4-3 defensive end prospects that are soon to be available in the upcoming NFL Draft in May.