By Ron Morgan
Corsicana Daily Sun
So, Demarcus Ware isn’t worthy of the $12 million he had coming with the Cowboys for 2014, but he was worth a total of $30 million (with $20 million guaranteed) to the Denver Broncos. Does that make sense?
Yes it does. Let me explain. I’ve done plenty of Jerry Jones bashing over the years (but none since last weekend), so if Jerry does something right, I feel a need to let it be known.
By releasing Ware, the Cowboys freed up $7.4 million in cap space. If they had kept the future Ring of Honor player, he would have been on the field with the Seven Dwarves and three of their woodland buddies. Not even a possible future Hall of Famer could turn that bunch around by himself. Who knows if Ware will ever return from all of his injuries and ever even become a shell of the player he used to be?
While Jerry is loath to use the “R” word, I will. On the defensive side of the ball, the Cowboys have to “Rebuild.” For Jerry, that presents a conundrum (I feel the need to use at least one word Dick Platt will have to look up.). Rebuilding teams don’t always fill stadiums. Besides, our heroes have an offense in place to play with anyone.
They can’t afford to be in a total rebuild mode. As good as the offense is, Tony Romo is about to turn 34. Jason Witten is just a few weeks away from being 32. And, while Demarco Murray is only 26, a running back’s age can best be calculated in dog years. The average NFL running back lasts only about four seasons. By the time they can rebuild the defense, the offense may be looking at a whole new set of players at the skill positions.
So, you might well ask, how can the Broncos afford to gamble that much on what might well be an over-the-hill player?
In Denver, the only “R” word coming up these days is Roll Your Own. Although they were obliterated in the Super Bowl, they were “in” the Super Bowl. They still have Peyton Manning and a talented bunch on offense. On defense, along with Ware, they’ve added a Pro Bowl Safety and a Pro Bowl corner.
A lockdown secondary would allow even a one armed Demarcus Ware time to get to the quarterback. With the seven-time Pro Bowler on the Cowboys defense, an offense could devote … 2, 3, 10 players to block him.
On a group with the talent they have in the Mile High City (a rather prophetic name from the past), Ware will get a lot of one on one blocking. The Broncos don’t need the D. Ware of 2009. They just need a reasonable facsimile thereof.
My fear was that Jerry would revert to the days when he hung onto players far too long. He didn’t. He did what had to be done. While Jerry can’t bring himself to use the word rebuild, perhaps he can use another “R” word for the defense: Retool.
Without either Spencer or Hatcher under contract, the Cowboys starting defensive line, at the moment, consists of George Selvie, Nick Hayden, Kyle Wilbur and a guy I’ve never heard of.
If all Jerry needed on defense were defensive linemen; it might not be too bad. Unfortunately, that’s not all that makes up the “R” word for the defense. Sean Lee is fragile. Bruce Carter has a hard time remembering what to do. Brandon Carr hasn’t been what they paid so highly for, and Maurice Claiborne is a bust. Did I mention that they could use a safety or two?
So, I do have to give Jerry credit for making the right move on Ware. After June 1 he has already announced that he will do the same thing with Miles Austin. However, I think my praise heaping will stop right there until after the draft. After watching him for all these years, I guess we should be happy with a few small things. As Darrell Royal once said, “Old ugly is better than old nothing.” And, the ‘Boys have a lot of ugly and plenty of nothing.