DeMarcus Ware may be cap casualty

Updated: February 25, 2014, 10:45 AM ET
By Calvin Watkins | ESPNDallas.com

Dallas Cowboys owner/general manager Jerry Jones hinted that star defensive end DeMarcus Ware could be a salary cap casualty.

Ware is coming off a six-sack 2013 season in which he missed three games with a quad injury and battled through various other physical ailments including a stinger and back and elbow problems.

Ware underwent elbow surgery recently.

"We will address it," Jones said of Ware's contract status. "We made a change in what he's doing. We put his hand down [play defensive end], rather than stand him up [play outside linebacker]. That was a change, and at the same time, he's had a tough time getting on the practice field because of various injuries, all of that we have to weigh with how much of that has impacted ... where he is with his career and his age.

"Those are the ingredients in the stew and we have to stir it up and see where we're going. It will be a very difficult call for us because of how much salary cap he uses."

Ware is scheduled to make a base salary of $12.25 million in 2014 and carries a salary cap number of $16 million. The Cowboys are nearly $20 million over the projected $130 million salary cap for 2014.

Cowboys executive vice president Stephen Jones said Ware most likely won't have a high cap number in 2014. The Cowboys could restructure Ware's salary, something they've done in the past, offer a pay cut or release him.

Cutting Ware would create a little more than $7 million in cap space. Ware has said he won't take a pay cut.

Cowboys officials are trying to determine if Ware's 2013 season was a result of his poor health or if his skills are declining.

"There's no question when you are where we are on the cap," Jones said about how difficult the decision is. "Even though we've had some new cap space added, and you have a defensive player that's your highest paid defensive player and he hasn't been on the field much the last two years, that has to be considered."

Calvin Watkins joined ESPNDallas.com in September 2009. He's covered the Cowboys since 2006 and also has covered colleges, boxing and high school sports.

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