With the NFL Scouting Combine officially in the bag, the attention immediately shifts to the Cowboys cap or lack thereof. The Cowboys have exactly two weeks from today to get the team under the cap and the biggest decision revolves around DeMarcus Ware. Ware’s contract will levy a whopping $16 million against the cap this year, so the Cowboys can restructure the contract yet again, but this will make a harder hit in subsequent years. The Cowboys are about to be staring at some hefty new contracts for Dez Bryant and Tyron Smith in 2015. These guys are core players and the current foundation of the offense, so they aren’t going anywhere. By cutting Ware, the Cowboys would free up $7.4 million dollars in cap space.
Ware said he would not take a pay cut; but as it stands now, this will likely be where the Cowboys will look at in order to keep Ware and drop his cap number significantly. I imagine they’ll want to do a similar reworking like they did with Doug Free, with incentives and option years. This could come down to who blinks first, and if history is any indicator, Dallas will. Jerry Jones has been known to hang on to players longer than the value of their contract (ie. Newman, Austin, Spencer) The loyal fan in me wants to keep Ware another year, but at the same time, the production and business side of his deal has become prohibitive to the roster. The Cowboys need to focus on rebuilding, and under Jason Garrett, the team has retooled or jettisoned a lot of players from previous regimes. This cap showdown is nothing new to the Cowboys, I’m sure they saw this coming when they restructured Ware last year and had an idea of what was going to happen this year.
In 2013, the Cowboys restructured Ware just a few days after the Combine, so I would expect some sort of news to trickle out in the coming days. I don’t see this dragging out until the 25th hour. Keeping or releasing Ware will give us a hint as to what they will do in this draft, so hold on, this could get interesting.