- Calvin Watkins, ESPN Staff Writer
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ORLANDO, Fla. -- The Cowboys made the difficult decision to let go of their franchise sack leader, DeMarcus Ware, two weeks ago. The Cowboys decided they couldn't afford the salary-cap hit ($16 million in 2014), and while coach Jason Garrett called Ware one of the best players in franchise history, he understood the reasons for cutting Ware loose.
"DeMarcus Ware is one of the best players the franchise has ever had," Garrett told ESPNDallas Tuesday afternoon from the NFL owners meetings. "He played his position over the past eight or nine years as well as anybody has in the National Football League. Those are very difficult and challenging decisions. There's a lot of different factors that go into making a decision like that and we just felt like at this time, the best thing for us to do was to not compete to the extent that we would have had to to keep him in a Cowboys uniform. A great player, a great human being, one of the cornerstones of our franchise. But you have to make some of these hard decisions and you have to be disciplined to do that."
The man who made the final call was owner/general manager Jerry Jones.
Jones, like Garrett, had high-praise for Ware, who signed a three-year deal with Denver only 24 hours after being released.
The key with Ware's release is what Garrett said: "disciplined to do that." In the past, the Cowboys would have held onto veteran players despite their high salary hoping for one more strong season.
Ware missed three games to injury in 2013 and underwent elbow surgery this offseason.
Ware's age, 31, and health weren't an issue for the Broncos.
"If you really research it and look over his career and understand, he had surgery to repair his elbow, when that happened, watching him before it happened and after it happened and you realize it’s hard to play this game with one arm," Broncos coach John Fox said Tuesday. "You get it fixed. We're obviously betting he has a lot left. I think there is a lot of evidence of that. His character, being a captain, being a leader, playing a large part of that season with a pretty serious injury."