Cowboys vice-president Stephen Jones acknowledges the team has a decision to make regarding defensive end DeMarcus Ware’s $16 million cap hit and $12 million salary for 2014.
They can restructure it to lower the cap figure by turning the base into signing bonus, ask him to take a pay cut or release the team’s all-time leading pass rusher.
The Cowboys have not had any talks with Ware’s agent Pat Dye regarding the contract and won’t be rushed to get anything clarified before March 11, Jones said.
What must be considered outside of Ware’s six sacks last season that seemed to suggest that his career is decline is his recent surgery to repair nerve damage in his elbow.
While Dye declined the comment on whether Ware would be willing to take a pay cut to stay with the Cowboys, he does believe his client will be back to his old dominating self in 2014, thanks to the surgery.
Dye said the elbow was much worse than Ware let on and doctors asked him how he was able to play with the injury. The elbow has actually bothered him the last two years, though Ware rarely let him keep him the field. He missed three games in 2013 due a quad strain.
Dye is not alone in his assessment. Cowboys coach Jason Garrett also believes Ware are still be an elite pass rusher, blaming his declining production on injuries.
“He was dealing with a number of different things throughout the course of the season,” Garrett said. “So he’s been a great football player for us. We still feel like he’s a young player. We’ve got to get him healthy and get him back to the form we’re all used to.”
While Garrett declined to get into contract aspect of Ware’s situation, he said met the former Pro Bowler earlier this week before he left for the combine and is looking forward to him getting healthy and being dominant again in 2014.
“We don’t want to get into all of these roster discussions right now,” Garrett said. “But I had a great meeting with him [Wednesday]. What we anticipate all of the guys on our football team to do is get ready to play in 2014. In DeMarcus’ case, he’s got to get himself healthy, get that elbow cleaned up, the other things he’s had to deal with and get himself ready to go and be his best version.”