IRVING, Texas -- Now that the Dallas Cowboys have decided to part ways with DeMarcus Ware, their all-time leader in sacks, they must figure out a way to replace his production and more than just the six sacks he recorded in 2013.
The Cowboys will gain $7.4 million in salary-cap space by releasing Ware, which will give them enough room to add whomever they want to add on a defense that is in need of even more help without Ware.
As a point of reference, the Cowboys signed cornerback Brandon Carr to a five-year, $50 million deal in 2012 and his first-year cap number was $3.2 million.
The best way to replace Ware is with a number of players. The key to the Cowboys' 4-3 scheme is sustained pressure with their front four. Bringing those players in waves is what works best. With Ware scheduled to make $12.75 million in base salary and offseason workouts in 2014, the Cowboys have to reconfigure that money to multiple players.
The chances of re-signing Jason Hatcher have improved, but he will receive interest from other teams and will want to check out what others have to say.
If the Cowboys can get a veteran pass-rusher at the price that teams paid Dwight Freeney and Osi Umenyiora a year ago (two years, a little more than $4 million annually), then that is a route they will go.
If they want to spend a little more, then keep an eye on Willie Young of the Detroit Lions. He is something of a forgotten man on the Lions' defensive line, but he has had his moments against the Cowboys.
This point, however, has to be perfectly clear: The defensive line has gone from a need to a must for the Cowboys.
It is quite possible George Selvie will be their top returning defensive lineman in 2013, and he did not join the roster until training camp started.