The Dallas Cowboys possessed the worst defensive in the league, and in their franchise’s storied history, last season. What will the team be like this year without their best defensive player? That’s the point NFL.com writer Marc Sessler makes in his latest article as he has listed DeMarcus Ware’s release last week by the Cowboys as one of the worst moves in free agency so far. Here is Sessler’s explanation:
“It’s not a signing, but it is a debacle. I first brought this up on the podcast: It has to pain Dallas fans to see DeMarcus Ware bolt for the Broncos as the direct result of a Dallas front office that can’t get out of its own way. While successful NFL teams find ways to create salary cap money and sign talent, the Cowboys have lost a future Hall of Famer because the team’s cap situation is eternally in disaster mode. In an offseason when Jerry Jones was hard-pressed to improve one of the league’s worst defenses, he’s parted ways with a rare difference-maker in Ware — who is now set up well for a monster season in Denver.”
The major fact Mr. Sessler is missing in the above statement is Ware’s age. He’ll be 32 when the season starts. As fans, we’ve watched his decline in speed and effectiveness the past couple seasons. And Ware can blame this decline on injuries all he wants. The truth is, he is getting older and slower. And Ware has become more susceptible to injury. It happens to the best of us. And that decline will continue throughout his next three years as a Bronco too. Although I expect his impact in Denver to be immediate, it will soon fade. Expect big numbers early but than a steady decline in Ware’s production as the season wears on.
Some claim Cowboys owner and general manager Jerry Jones underestimated Ware’s value in the open market. It’s probably more accurate to state the Broncos overvalued his abilities at this stage of his career. Although Ware can still add value to the Bronco’s defense, is it worth $10 million a year? For Denver, the answer is probably “yes”. But only if it gets them over the hump and a Super Bowl ring. For Dallas, who was struggling even to make the playoffs with the aging Ware, the answer was obviously “no”. The Cowboys needed to spread his salary out to numerous players in order to revitalize their overall poor defense.
Yes, it was a hard decision to release Ware. But I ultimately think it will prove to be the right one for Dallas. Regardless, it shouldn’t tarnish the legacy Ware leaves behind. He will always be one of the greatest to ever wear the star.