- Jean-Jacques Taylor, ESPNDallas.com
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IRVING, Texas -- A piece of advice: Do not drive yourself crazy now that we know DeMarcus Ware will play for the Denver Broncos next season. Don't second-guess the decision the Dallas Cowboys made Tuesday to release Ware. It was the correct move.
He wasn't worth the money on an average team like the Cowboys that have a multitude of roster holes to fill. On the Broncos, Ware makes perfect sense. And that's why they gave the 31-year-old defensive end a three-year, $30 million deal.
Ware will earn $13 million in signing bonus and salary this season, and his $7 million salary for next season is guaranteed. Odds are he won't see the third season.
Right now, what you need to understand is that Ware will have a monster season next year with Denver. Guaranteed. My advice: Spend the next few months preparing yourself to deal with it.
Hey, we've done it before. Remember Steve Nash won consecutive most valuable player awards the first two seasons after Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban let the free agent point guard leave because he figured Nash's body was going to break down sooner rather than later.
And who can forget catcher Pudge Rodriguez winning a World Series with Florida a year after spending the first 12 years of his career with the Texas Rangers? Texas let Rodriguez leave because they thought he was done, the same way the Cowboys let Ware go because they weren't sure how much he had left to give.
You need to understand the way the NFL works these days. The length and worth of a contract is irrelevant. All that matters is the amount of guaranteed cash. When a team such as the Cowboys asks a player to take a pay cut, the player's agent sees if he can get a deal worth more money. If the agent finds a better deal, the player leaves. If he can't, the player stays.
It has zero to do with loyalty. Or greed. This is business.
Ware's agent, Pat Dye Jr., knew his client could get at least the same money Ware was scheduled to earn with the Cowboys from a number of clubs, so he left.
Boy, was he right.
Ware will earn about $750,000 more than he was scheduled to make this year with the Cowboys. He's going to a better situation by joining the Broncos, who advanced to the Super Bowl before getting blown out by the Seattle Seahawks.
Ware upgraded in every aspect except property values, since you can still buy more house in Dallas than Denver. His quarterback is better. His team is better. And his coach is better.
The Broncos are 26-6 with Peyton Manning as quarterback the past two seasons, while Tony Romo is 16-15. John Fox has led two different teams -- Carolina and Denver -- to the Super Bowl, while Jason Garrett has yet to make the playoffs in three full seasons as head coach.
Manning is one of the best to ever play the game, no matter what his critics say about his 11-12 postseason record. At 37, he threw 55 touchdowns and only 10 interceptions last season. Whether you're a Romo hater or Romo apologist, we can all agree Romo isn't in Manning's class.
Manning is the primary reason the Broncos led by 17 points or more in 12 games last season. The Cowboys built that type of cushion in three games only once after September.
With the Broncos playing ahead much of the time, Ware can focus on pressuring quarterbacks. Von Miller, one of the premier pass rushers in the NFL, produced 30 sacks in his first two seasons. He had five in nine games last season before tearing a knee ligament on Dec. 22. He'll probably return in September or October and continue to be one of the best defensive players in the game. Ware, who has 117 sacks in 141 career games, didn't play with a dude who recorded double-digit sack totals for the first eight seasons of his career. The Cowboys tried, but they failed to pair him with another premier pass-rusher who could consistently take advantage of the attention Ware commanded. Without much of a threat on the other side, Ware still managed seven consecutive seasons with at least 10 sacks. Now, he'll get more single coverage than ever because teams will make Miller the focus of their game plans.
Ware will also thrive because he'll be determined to prove to Garrett and Cowboys owner Jerry Jones that he can still play at a high level. And he will, if he stays away from the injuries that have plagued him much of the past two seasons.
Ware had shoulder surgery after the 2012 season and elbow surgery after the 2013 season. He missed the first three games of his career last season, and the frequent "stingers" he has gotten the past couple of seasons are the only health ailments that should concern the Broncos.
Denver can help Ware by limiting his playing time on first and second downs to take full advantage of his pass-rushing skills. Ask Pro Bowl left tackle Tyron Smith whether Ware's first-step quickness and speed still exist.
The money was important. It always is. But keep in mind, Denver won two playoff games last year, twice as many as the Cowboys have won in the past 17 seasons.
Ware signed with the Broncos because he wants to compete for a Super Bowl, something that wasn't going to happen if he stayed with the Cowboys.
Be happy for him.
DeMarcus Ware will thrive in Denver, but the Cowboys should not have regret.