‘Ware’ Do Dallas Cowboys Go From Here?

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Sep 29, 2013; San Diego, CA, USA; Dallas Cowboys defensive end DeMarcus Ware (94) on the bench prior to the game against the San Diego Chargers at Qualcomm Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports

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.

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Tags: Charles Haley Dallas Cowboys DeMarcus Ware Jerry Jones

  • Fred Samford

    This is a good thing as good as Ware was for the first 3 quarter of a game. He never was that guy that could just end the game for you in the 4th quarter. The boyz need to get younger and younger fast. Love this move. Would like them the trade Witten for a second possible a first. And to surprise some of you I would trade Dez for at least a one maybe two number one draft picks.

    • ctcowboy1968

      Dez is the #1 playmaker on this team. He is the future. Trade him and this team has nothing special. He is a TD lock with the back shoulder fade. Also, no team is going to trade for Witten at his age and certainly not a 2nd and absolutely not a 1st.

      • Old Frog

        I remain unconvinced about Dez. He’s certainly no Michael Irvin but he is expecting to be paid like he is. During his 4th year with the Cowboys Irvin was responsible for 59% of the total receiving yards; Dez 32% – and Aikman had Emmitt running the ball and Novacek as his security blanket. I say let him play out the last year of his contract and then decide if he’s worth the $79 million or whatever ungodly number he’s going to request.

        • ctcowboy1968

          Dez is facing more double teams than Michael did. Also, Michael had his patented push off move. Also, teams had to worry about Emmitt a lot more and put 8 in the box. Don’t get me wrong, loved Michael. Tony goes to Witten a lot reducing Dez’s chances.

          • Old Frog

            So continue to build the O line in this year’s draft, force other teams to put 8 in the box, then see how well Dez does before dumping money all over him.

          • Christian Blood

            Right, develop the running game before showering $70 million on ANY wide receiver. Linehan isn’t likely to do this, but this is what the franchise should be doing … AFTER a defensive front is created, of course.

        • Christian Blood

          I would entertain the idea of trading Dez Bryant simply because you don’t have to have a single wide receiver as good as he is to win championships. Plus, he’ll eat up a ton of cap space in the coming years and I’m just not convinced that the Cowboys will be able to gather enough talent around him to make much difference.

          Finally, if you think that Ware’s release is the last we’ll see of older, expensive players being shown the door, wait a short while. Two of the next shockers, at least in the next season or two, could be Witten (not trade bait for anybody) and possibly Romo. If Romo isn’t around by 2015, what’s the point in having so much money tied up in any wide receiver?

          • ctcowboy1968

            The next QB has to have someone that gets open and to throw to. Look at Geno Smith and the Bills QB. Young QBs have to have a target they can get the ball out to. They just can’t sit back there and wait. Young QBs don’t have the patience for that. Yes there is TWill and Beasley, but Dez is at another level.

  • Draftmane

    Dez,T.Will & Jordan Matthews coming soon!!!!!!!!!

    • Christian Blood

      I’d be fine with Matthews in the 3rd, provided that the Cowboys have rebuilt their defensive line first. The front seven is way more important than a wide receiver, especially that early. This draft has lots and lots of pass catchers … and don’t forget that Escobar probably sees a lot of time in the slot this year.

  • ctcowboy1968

    This move certainly puts increased focus on the DL needs. To think that a year ago the dream DL was Ware, Spencer, Rat and Hatch. Now none of them are on the team. Things change quickly and two of them never really played. JJ finally did something right. Time to move on from older big money players. Younger, faster, inexpensive players are the way to go. I would still take a DT with the first pick, but this move opens up the DE position too.

    • Christian Blood

      A defensive tackle in the first round is certainly a possibility, especially since the Cowboys will have a keen eye on exactly what kind of DEs are available to them at 16. Dallas can’t afford to whiff or reach for an end just because he’s there. The bust rate for interior guys is certainly lower than that of outside rushers. Then again, there’s better options in FA at defensive tackle, so I still think the Cowboys will be trying anything possible to come away with an impact rusher in the first round.