EXPECT EXTRA-LONG EXTRA POINT: NFL owners approve PAT rule changes for 2015 season | Kickers moved back 15 yards | Defensive scoring opportunity created
The NFL has been tinkering with the PAT in hopes of making it a more difficult and therefore entertaining play for spectators. Continue reading →
WALL OF SHAME TO HALL OF FAME: Flashback–Change of scenery worked for Charles Haley; he thinks Dallas will help Hardy | Counseling was key to smarter decisions, funneling rage and leaving aggressiveness on the field
Greg Hardy isn’t the first player the Dallas Cowboys have ever brought in with baggage.
“Bags?” Charles Haley mused, “I had suitcases. Full suitcases.”
Haley was one of the NFL’s best pass rushers at the turn of the 1990 decade. He hit double figures in sacks in four of his first six seasons and went to three Pro Bowls. He was San Francisco’s dominant pass rusher on back-to-back Super Bowl champions in 1988-89.
But Haley had issues. Anger issues. There were confrontations with his coaches and teammates. Continue reading →
THE AMERICA’S TEAM DREAM: Tony & True Blue Timothy Tinman–Romo helps a dream come true for 7-year-old fan | Surprise reunion with family’s father
Romo met with Brookshire through the Dream On 3 organization, which helps children with “chronic illnesses, developmental disabilities or life-altering conditions” meet their favorite professional athletes and attend sporting events.
Timothy, nicknamed “Tinman”, has several medical conditions, including a heart defect, chromosomal abnormality and Langerhans cell histiocytosis.
Timothy’s dream was to meet Romo, which he did yesterday (Monday) when he and his family flew to Big D to take a tour of the Dallas Cowboys facilities.
The boy’s father, a National Guardsman, also took part in a surprise reunion with the family, as depicted in the video.
Timothy “Tinman” Brookshire reunited with dad and meets Tony Romo
Timothy “Tinman” Brookshire
Timothy: Even before birth, it was determined that Timothy’s conditions and birth defects were “not compatible with life.” His mother and father were told to enjoy their time with their son because he would likely only live for a few days. 7 years and 58 surgeries later, Timothy’s medical conditions include TOFPA – Tetralogy of Fallot with Pulmonary Atresia (Heart Defect), Cleft lip and palate, Trisomy 16 (a chromosomal abnormality,) and Langerhans cell histiocytosis (LCH). Continue reading →
FALLOUT FOLLOW-UP: Hansen on Hardy–Wife thinks he went too far | Charlotte Jones Anderson not afraid of 2nd chance opportunity | Diggin’ Deeper | Mark Cuban Chimes in | Hot Air Hansen | Salary Break-down | Greg Hardy poll
WFAA’s Dale Hansen joined the Dan Patrick Show on Thursday to discuss his comments on Greg Hardy. Here are some highlights from the interview. Continue reading →
FIFTH-ROUNDER FRISKED IN FRISCO: Dallas Cowboys RB Joseph Randle arrested for shoplifting | NFL disciplinary action expected
Dallas Cowboys backup running back Joseph Randle was arrested last night (Monday) after Frisco police say he shoplifted a bottle of cologne and a pack of underwear from the Dillard’s at Stonebriar Mall. Continue reading →
2014-2015 GAME 4 RECAP: New Orleans vs. Dallas | Dez delivers “We Dat” dagger | Cowboys rout Rob Ryan’s Saints, 38-17 | Gameday videos | NFL Analysis
PHOTO — Dez Bryant wasn’t the Dallas Cowboys’ primary target. Entering the fourth quarter, he only had two catches for 26 yards.
But he delivered the final blow with less than four minutes remaining, catching an 18-yard touchdown on third-and-6.
“Whenever you get the opportunity, you got to take advantage of it,” Bryant said. “That’s exactly what happened. I put the dagger. Boom.”
Bryant was so pleased with Dallas’ 38-17 victory over New Orleans that he ran to the Cowboys locker room yelling, “We Dat!” Bryant was taking a shot at Saints fans and their popular cheer, “Who Dat?”
GAME RECAP – Dallas Cowboys rout Rob Ryan’s Saints, 38-17
THE GREAT HORNYGATE SCANDAL: Jerry Jones addresses recent off-the-field issues | Photos are a misrepresentation | Women lawyer up | “Son of God” exposes “Sins of Jerry Jones” | Story is weirder than the photos
BIG D BRINGS BIG DOLLARS: Dallas Cowboys, the NFL’s two billion dollar ‘boys | Texas now has a billion-dollar MLB team | Former Microsoft CEO buys Clippers
The Los Angeles Times reported yesterday (Thursday) that the Los Angeles Clippers will be sold to former Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer for $2 billion.
Embattled Clippers owner Donald Sterling had stated in a cover letter Tuesday responding to NBA charges that he had “received offers in excess of $2.5 billion” to purchase the team, which would have set a new record in U.S. pro sports.
The reported winning bid for the Clippers is a bit less than the Dallas Cowboys were valued at by Forbes in 2013. The business magazine appraised America’s Team’s value at $2.3 billion in 2013, up $200 million from the previous year, when it became the first American sports franchise to be worth more than $2 billion.
$2.3 billion Forbes appraisal keeps Dallas Cowboys ranked No. 1 among NFL teams
OXNARD, Calif. — Fresh off the announcement that the Dallas Cowboys will build a new headquarters and practice facility in Frisco with the expectation it will open in 2016, Forbes announced that America’s Team is the NFL’s most valuable.
AROUND THE LEAGUE: Retired NFL Players Congress gathering in Dallas area for 2014 summit | Roger Staubach to give keynote address
From around the country, retired NFL players of varying ages and fame will congregate in Arlington (Dallas/Ft. Worth suburb) today (Friday) and Saturday in hopes that their collective voice will be heard.
CHANGING OF THE GUARD: Monte Kiffin’s role has changed, but the Dallas Cowboys defense is in good hands | 2014 Dallas Cowboys coaching staff
Monte Kiffin doesn’t hold the title of Dallas Cowboys defensive coordinator anymore, but he’s as fired up as ever. Just ask him.
“I’m really excited. I’m really fired up,” Kiffin said. “I’m not down one bit. I’m really not. I can’t coach that way. I wouldn’t stay here. If I didn’t feel right, if I knew I wasn’t going to contribute, and it wasn’t going to be a good situation, I promise you I would have moved on. I like it here. I like the head coach. But Rod Marinelli is the guy.
Kiffin was hired a little over a year ago to oversee the team’s transition from the 3-4 to the Tampa Two 4-3 style (commonly referred to as the Texas-2 Defense on this site).
INSIDE THE 2014 PLAYBOOK: Dallas Cowboys offensive coordinator Scott Linehan sees strength in running | More deep shots downfield will stretch defenses
Scott Linehan is known for directing pass-heavy offenses. During his previous five seasons as Detroit’s offensive coordinator, no team threw the ball more. Over those 80 games, the Lions averaged 40.7 pass attempts per game, four more than the Dallas Cowboys averaged during that time.
So, it was somewhat surprising to hear the new Dallas Cowboys offensive play-caller talking on the radio about how Pro Bowl running back DeMarco Murray and the Dallas running game would be the team’s strength this season.
“Things that were done last year in the running game with DeMarco, the running style that was created here is really a good fit,” Linehan said recently on 105.3 The Fan. “That’s going to be our strength, being able to lean on that running game a little bit more than the past.
“Obviously, with this offensive line, this is going to be something that’s going to help our passing game. The looks that Dez [Bryant] started to get as the year went on, people started giving him the attention that Calvin [Johnson] and Randy Moss would get as far as getting those double coverage’s. You need to have those other facets of your offense as far as your running game.”
Linehan also mentioned how an increased emphasis on running the ball could lead to the Cowboys using a fullback more often than they did in 2013.
Four-year veteran Tyler Clutts is the only fullback on Dallas’ current roster. LSU fullback J.C. Copeland was one of 24 undrafted free agents signed Tuesday by the Cowboys. Copeland was considered one of the top blocking fullbacks in college football.
“The No. 1 goal, and I told Jason [Garrett] this when I came here, is to keep a lot of things the same,” Linehan said. “It’s a lot easier for the players to not have to change how they call things. To the naked eye, they’ll be similar.
“I just want to be an asset and bring some ideas that maybe haven’t been implemented that I can add to current things that were done well in the systems I’ve been around.
“Jason and I have a good background. … There are a lot of similarities. It’s just the language. I just basically made the commitment to transfer over what I’ve called things, the way people call things to keep it consistent for the players so they can step on the field and be ready to go from the get-go of OTAs.”
Historically, the Dallas Cowboys’ new offensive play-caller has never been afraid to stretch a defense by taking deep shots downfield.
He did it with Calvin Johnson and Randy Moss. Expect him to do the same with Dez Bryant in Dallas.
“That’s a big part of what I grew up in or believe in,” Linehan recently said. “It’s going to be our philosophy to do those kinds of things maybe a little more. I think we have the personnel for it, for sure. It’s a way to get people backed up a little bit and also create big plays.
“Everybody says it’s a low percentage play. Depending on the look, it’s a high percentage play, as long as you got weapons on the outside part of the field. I really believe we have that. We also have some big targets with our tight ends. Having the talent, the speed and the length we have at our skill positions I think it’s something you got to implement, and that really helps open up things for your running game as well.”
Going deep wasn’t a large part of the Dallas Cowboys offensive attack in 2013. Tony Romo ranked 17th in the NFL last season in pass attempts of 21 or more air yards.
“One of the most intriguing things for me coming here was we got some great weapons on offense,” Linehan said. “Obviously we’ve built a heck of an offensive line. Tony’s a proven player that I’ve always been a big fan of throughout his career. We’ve got a pretty decent receiver [Bryant] and a pretty decent tight end [Jason Witten]. Those guys are pretty good.”
Williams played in all 16 games, starting eight as the team’s No. 2 receiver last season. The third-round pick caught 44 passes for 736 yards and five touchdowns. Escobar, a second-round pick, was used sparingly, catching nine passes for 134 yards and two touchdowns from the tight end position.
“The Escobar kid … is a guy that’s kind of somewhat untapped at this point,” Linehan said. “It’s not because he doesn’t have the ability to do it. We really liked him [in Detroit] last year coming out in the draft. I followed him when he came here. Now that I’m working with him, I’m really excited to see what he can do for us, too
SMARTIN’ MARTIN OVER MANZIEL: Dallas Cowboys season ticket holders conference call with Stephen Jones | Team commitment to Tony Romo
It’s been five days since the Dallas Cowboys chose to pass on Johnny Manziel and draft Notre Dame offensive lineman Zack Martin, but it’s still a topic among Cowboys fans.
Cowboys chief operating officer Stephen Jones was asked about the move today during a conference call (see below) with Dallas Cowboys season ticket holders.
“We just felt like at the end of the day, as talented as he was, and we had him high on our board in the first round, but we have a quarterback, a great one, in place in Tony Romo,” Jones said. “We had enough confidence to guarantee him almost $50 million on an almost $20 million extension. And that extension starts this year. We really made the ultimate decision, Jerry [Jones] did, that it was in our best interest to put players around Tony to make him even better and give him a shot to go win a Super Bowl, which is what everybody’s goal is in this organization. We certainly felt like we did that in Zack Martin.”
Jones views Manziel as an immediate starter in the NFL, adding that he doesn’t think the Heisman Trophy winner has the patients that Green Bay’s Aaron Rodgers displayed, sitting behind Brett Favre for three years before becoming the Packers’ full-time starter.
Jones compared passing on Manziel to the 1998 draft when the Cowboys passed on Randy Moss. Nineteen other teams also passed on the seven-time Pro Bowl wide receiver, but the Cowboys are the team that’s remembered most.
“I’m sure Johnny Manziel is going to have a great career,” Jones said. “We wish him nothing but the best, but there’s no doubt in my mind, we made the very best decision we could for the Cowboys in terms of what is going to help us get to a Super Bowl the soonest.”
RELATED: Tony Romo ‘ready to take the next big step’
Tony Romo has been throwing at Valley Ranch during voluntary workouts. He’s also on schedule to take part in organized team activities this month.
During the conference call with season ticket holders (see below), Dallas Cowboys chief operating officer Stephen Jones said he’s confident that Romo will be fully healed by the start of the season.
“He’s actually progressing great,” Jones said. “He’s on schedule, if not ahead of schedule. He’s throwing the ball around. We think he not only will he be ready for opening week, he’ll start up at training camp and be ready to go.
“He’s obviously a tremendous competitor and in our mind, he kept us in it all season long with a defense that was obviously depleted with injuries, and he had us playing to win the NFC East in the last game of the year. Had he been playing in that game, I think that game may have gone a different direction. We’re certainly fired up about him.”
“We got a great quarterback in Tony Romo, who I think is ready to take the next big step,” Jones said. “Get him hot and get us in the playoffs and anything can happen.”
Dallas Cowboys Season Ticket Holders Conference Call
Season Ticket Holders Conference Call with VP Stephen Jones | 57:49 | Every year Dallas Cowboys season ticket holders get the opportunity to join in on a conference call with a Cowboys coach or executive. Listen in as they had a chance to sit down with Cowboys VP/COO/Director of Player Personnel Stephen Jones just shortly after the Dallas Cowboys 2014 NFL Draft.
POST-DRAFT PRESS CONFERENCE: DeMarcus Lawrence will help Dallas Cowboys bolster defensive trenches | Secret Call from War Room | 2nd round NFL Draft 2014
IRVING — A Dallas Cowboys team that patiently sat and let talent come to them to open the 2014 NFL Draft took a much different approach on the second night.
While the selection of guard Zack Martin in the first round was hailed as a sound approach, it increased the urgency to come out of Friday night’s proceedings with a defensive lineman who could make an immediate impact.
The Dallas Cowboys wasted no time addressing what owner Jerry Jones called an acute need. The team jumped from the middle of the second round to take Boise State defensive end DeMarcus Lawrence at No. 34.
“This was a need pick,” Jones said. “The need to have a player that either could put some pressure on the outside or a unique complement, give us two players that have to be blocked.
“He was the only one left on the board we saw that could draw two blocks. The question, in my mind, was just how much you pay for it.”
The team traded its second- and third-round picks (Nos. 47 and 78) to Washington to jump up 13 spots to select Lawrence. Washington responded by taking Stanford linebacker Trent Murphy and Nebraska guard Spencer Long with the two picks.
The Cowboys could have held those picks and had their choice of defensive tackle Timmy Jernigan or left defensive ends Kony Ealy or Scott Crichton in the third round. Defensive tackle Will Sutton and defensive end Kareem Martin were still available in the third round after Long was taken by Washington.
All of those players visited Valley Ranch and would have addressed the team’s defensive line deficiencies.
But none of those players line up at right defensive end. The Dallas Cowboys had Lawrence rated as the third-best pass rushing end in this draft behind Jadeveon Clowney and Anthony Barr. They gave him a first-round grade as a pass rusher and a high second-round grade overall.
That’s why they were willing to give up a third-round pick to acquire him, a price chief operating officer Stephen Jones concedes is higher than the draft value chart states.
“We really like him,” coach Jason Garrett said. “He’s a right end candidate for us. There are only a handful of right end guys in this draft. We felt like we needed to come up with an impact player in the front seven in this draft, and those impact players are high. They are the first- and second-round players.
“He’s got very good pass rush ability. He has a quick get-off. He can bend. He shows that he can get after the quarterback and make plays when you combine his sacks and tackles for loss. He’s just a very productive player over a two-year career over there in Boise.”
Defensive coordinator Rod Marinelli is an advocate. The Dallas Cowboys need him to provide the edge rush that was lacking last season.
“What we’re looking for is somebody that has first and foremost natural pass rushing instinct,” Jerry Jones said. “Not necessarily speed. Speed alone doesn’t get it. It’s got to be somebody that has a knack of bending, maybe a way a couple of techniques.
“Rod is high on this guy. Real high on this guy.”
Jones notes the irony of replacing one DeMarcus (Ware) with another. Lawrence isn’t as fast as Ware. But he’s stronger.
“It’s unfair to compare players,” Garrett said. “That’s not what we’re in the business of doing. We want to choose players who are our kinds of guys.
“He was the guy on the board who best did that for us. This was a way to improve in the front seven.”
No one expects Lawrence to come in and duplicate the kind of production Ware gave the Cowboys before his release this off-season. But Lawrence knows the comparisons are inevitable.
“I know it’s some big shoes to fill, but I’m going to work my butt off,” Lawrence said. “I’m going to do all I can to become the best and fill their shoes.
“I’m my own Demarcus. I don’t like this trying to be nobody else. I’m going to be me.
“I’m going to do it well.”
Courtesy: David Moore | DMN staff
IN THE KNOW
DeMarcus Lawrence | Position: Defensive end | College: Boise State
Pick: No. 34 overall (second pick in the second round) | Height: 6-3 | Weight: 251
Notable: Lawrence, one of the Dallas Cowboys predraft visitors, is an exceptional athlete who projects to be a right defensive end, replacing seven-time Pro Bowler DeMarcus Ware. In two seasons at Boise State, Lawrence recorded 20 sacks and 34 tackles for loss. Following high school, he played one season at Butler Community College, where he finished with 12 sacks and 19 tackles for loss. The Cowboys had Lawrence ranked as the third pass rusher on the their board, Jerry Jones said.
Quote: Lawrence on filling DeMarcus Ware’s shoes: “I know it’s some big shoes to fill, but I’m going to work my butt off and give it my all. I’m going to do all I can to become the best and fill those shoes.”
Courtesy: Jon Machota | DMN staff
Related Videos …
2nd/3rd Round Post-Draft Press Conference | 16:45 | Jerry Jones, Stephen Jones, and Jason Garrett discuss their move to trade up and selection of DeMarcus Lawrence, defensive end from Boise State. (Watch | Listen)
Will McClay, the Dallas Cowboys assistant director of player personnel who has recently ascended to one of the top positions in the organization.
As the scope of McClay’s role has increased, so has the intrigue surrounding him. In short time, McClay has become the mythic figure of the Cowboys’ off-season.
IN CAREER RELAUNCHING MODE: Dallas Cowboys re-sign DE Anthony Spencer to one-year contract | NFL Free Agency 2014
IRVING, Texas – The Dallas Cowboys answered one of their final lingering questions of this offseason this afternoon.
IRVING, Texas — Before people get carried away with Kyle Orton’s absence from the Dallas Cowboys offseason program, two factors need to be put out there: the workouts are voluntary and he missed just one day.
But the Cowboys should not look at Orton’s absence as a one-day deal. They need to determine whether Orton really wants to play football in 2014, despite what they heard from the player’s agent and the fact Orton would be walking away from $3.25 million.
It could be as simple as him not wanting to play anymore. He is the second-highest paid backup quarterback in the NFL behind Matt Moore ($4 million) of the Miami Dolphins, so money wouldn’t seem to be an issue. He has been content in his role as a backup to Tony Romo, so opportunity wouldn’t seem to be an issue.
Undoubtedly the Cowboys have spoken directly to Orton this offseason with the whispers of him thinking about retirement. What was discussed is not known. Did he tell them he would play or not play?
Orton holds the cards here because he does not have to show up until the mandatory June minicamp. If he does not report for that, then he would face fines up to close to $70,000. If he does report, what kind of condition is he in?
The Cowboys can trade him or release him. What kind of return would they get for a player who may or may not report to a new team? If they release him, then they would forfeit the right to pick up $3 million of the $5 million signing bonus he received in 2011.
They could keep him and hope he arrives at the June minicamp in good shape and is ready to go when the team reports to Oxnard, Calif., for training camp. Hope, however, should not be their strategy.
Yet there is a more immediate question raised from Orton’s absence. Does it push quarterback up the ladder when it comes to the draft?
The Dallas Cowboys signed Brandon Weeden to a two-year deal in the offseason with no signing bonus. They liked him coming into the 2012 draft, but not as much as the Cleveland Browns liked him. He had more interceptions than touchdown passes, but the Cowboys have taken a no-risk look at him.
What can they learn about Weeden before the draft? Not much. Coaches are not allowed on the field with the players until Phase 2 of the offseason program, which comes the week of the draft.
The Dallas Cowboys attended Aaron Murray’s workout at Georgia last week. They talked with Jimmy Garoppolo and David Fales at the NFL scouting combine. They had a number of quarterbacks at their Dallas Day workouts last week in Garrett Gilbert, Casey Pachall and James Franklin, but they did not have a quarterback among their national visitors.
The Cowboys aren’t exactly being held hostage by Orton, but his decision (or indecision) could go a long way in how they plan to attack the draft.
Former Dallas Cowboys center Phil Costa surprised everyone Monday by retiring from the NFL at only 26 years old.
This morning, Costa released a statement via his agent explaining his decision to retire after just signing a two-year contract last month with the Indianapolis Colts.
“Unfortunately, the day-to-day physical rigor of the NFL season has taken a toll on my body and has been a driving force behind my decision,” Costa said in his statement.
Costa, who started all 16 games in 2011 for the Cowboys, played in only three games each of the previous two years. A dislocated ankle caused him to miss the majority of the 2012 season.
Costa also thanked the Cowboys, Colts, his coaches, teammates, family, friends and the fans for all of their support throughout his career.
“As I look forward to the next chapter of my life, I will always be grateful for the opportunity to have played in the league,” Costa said.
The Dallas Cowboys aim to improve their roster through the draft. With the 16th pick, the team hopes to select a player that will be an immediate contributor and help the Cowboys for years to come. Here is a look at a prospect who may make sense for Dallas:
Kony Ealy | Position: Defensive End | School: Missouri | Height: 6-4 | Weight: 273
What he’s done: Overshadowed by teammate Michael Sam in recent months, Kony Ealy performed well in his final season at Missouri. He was a first-team All-SEC selection after collecting 9 ½ sacks and 14 ½ tackles for loss in 2013. He also led Missouri with 16 quarterback hurries and three forced fumbles. Ealy opted to forgo his senior season after his strong performance as a junior. At the NFL combine, Ealy didn’t wow scouts or coaches. He completed the 40-yard dash in 4.92 seconds and did 22 repetitions on the 225-pound bench press. He did produce the best time among defensive ends in the three-cone drill, showing agility.
Why he makes sense for the Cowboys: With the departure of DeMarcus Ware, the Cowboys are in the market for a defensive end who can be a reliable impact player. George Selvie performed well last season, but it’s not clear yet whether he can sustain that level of productivity. New acquisition Jeremy Mincey, has a similarly spotty track record. With the Cowboys unable to lure Jared Allen to Dallas, they still have a need for a defensive end. Ealy, who proved an able pass rusher in the nation’s toughest conference, may be just what the Dallas Cowboys are looking for as they try to fill the mammoth void left by Ware.
How ‘bout a quick look?
Making A Case For Kony Ealy
Tuesday was an eventful day for the Dallas Cowboys.
The starting quarterback added a son and the defense added a starting tackle.
Quarterback Tony Romo and his wife, Candice, got the excitement underway with the birth of their second child.
Rivers Romo, all eight pounds, 12 ounces of him, was the first addition. He joins older brother Hawkins, born two years ago, in the Romo backfield.
Later in the day, Henry Melton tweeted that he had agreed to play for the Cowboys. He will replace Jason Hatcher, who signed with Washington in free agency. He signed a one-year contract with a club option for three more.
Rivers Romo agreed to a lifetime deal.
Editors note: It is unknown if Tony Romo lost a bet with Phillip Rivers on naming rights. haha
The worst defensive team in the NFL just parted ways with its most dynamic player.
The post-DeMarcus Ware era is upon us, and don’t believe for a minute that he and his agent will simply test the free-agent waters.
Ware will get the offer he wants. Ware is likely gone.
How can this possibly be a good thing for the league’s 32nd-ranked defense, given that Ware is only 31-years-old?
It’s mostly — but not entirely — a case of money.
We applaud the forward thinking teams of this league that use the unique status of NFL contracts, cutting players when they are simply starting to leave the prime of their careers in order to make room for newer, younger, cheaper talent.
New England has been doing this for a decade. The New York Giants do it. The New Orleans Saints just cast off about half their defense (it seemed) to retool and invest in the future.
The Cowboys? That’s the team that always keeping the salary cap at bay by re-working contracts and moving today’s problems into tomorrow land.
In large part, those past re-workings caught up with the Dallas Cowboys today. DeMarcus Ware was never supposed to count more than $16 million against the cap, but the club had shifted his money and his cap figure down the line until this crossroads was reached.
We don’t know what sort of reduction (if any) that Ware and his agent, Pat Dye, were willing to take in order to stay in Dallas. It sounds as if they were against any sort of pay cut.
They needed a decision by the time free-agency arrived at 3 p.m. They got their wish. The Dallas Cowboys cut a Ring of Honor candidate. See the press release below.
Given that no one really knows the answer to how much Ware was in decline last year or how much injuries contributed.
Jerry Jones chose not to shove today’s worries into next year’s cap. It’s possible that Ware signs with a 3-4 team, returns to his old outside linebacker position and goes to the 2014 Pro Bowl.
After all, someone drafted Ware in 2005 when head coach Bill Parcells was pushing for another outside linebacker, Shawne Merriman, who began his pro career with three straight Pro Bowl trips for San Diego. Merriman faded quickly after that. He retired from the NFL a year ago.
Ware, undoubtedly, has football left in him, but his decline in sacks the last two seasons (from 19.5 to 11.5 to 6) is a good indicator of which way he’s most likely headed.
The pertinent question now is: What do the Cowboys do?
They suddenly find themselves with $9 million in cap room, a figure that will grow beyond $14 million if wide receiver Miles Austin gets his official walking papers in June.
It’s almost certain Dallas will remain on the sidelines as the big free-agency dollars are passed out. That’s a good thing. The Cowboys’ plays as big spenders have almost never panned out, and the same goes for other clubs.
But they have to do something. And they have to absolutely nail their first two picks in a May draft that is filled with defensive linemen.
In hindsight, many Dallas Cowboys fans wish Jones has learned this lesson a year ago when he was giving all that money to Jay Ratliff, a failed attempt to placate the recalcitrant tackle.
Dallas Cowboys press release announcing release of DeMarcus Ware:
The Dallas Cowboys released defensive end DeMarcus Ware Tuesday. Ware, who was Dallas’ first first-round draft pick in 2005 (11th overall), is the club’s all-time sack leader (117.0). In his nine years with the team, Ware earned seven consecutive Pro Bowl appearances — tied for the fourth-longest streak in team history — and racked up seven straight seasons with 10 or more sacks (2006-12). Jared Allen (2007-13) is the only other league defender with seven consecutive 10-sack seasons since 2006.
A decision like this, involving a man who is a cornerstone player in the history of your franchise, is extremely difficult,” said Cowboys owner and general manager Jerry Jones.
“After meeting this afternoon, DeMarcus and I agreed on an understanding that would allow him to explore the options he will have for the 2014 season and beyond. We were also in very strong agreement that playing for the Dallas Cowboys would be one of the options we would both be exploring.
“DeMarcus Ware, through his performance on the field and his outstanding character, is someone who is held in the highest regard within the Dallas Cowboys family. He is worthy of our greatest respect, and we want what is best for him and his family.”
In 2008 Ware established a club record and league-high 20.0 sacks, becoming only the seventh league defender to reach 20.0 in a season at the time and was named the 2008 NFC Defensive Player of the Year. En route to his 20.0 sacks in 2008, Ware put together a streak of 10 straight games (beginning in 2007) with at least one full sack, tying Simon Fletcher (1992-93) for the longest sack streak in NFL history.
In 2010 Ware led the league with 15.5 sacks to become only the fifth league defender to lead the NFL in sacks multiple times (Mark Gastineau, Reggie White, Kevin Greene and Michael Strahan). The very next season, Ware racked up 19.5 sacks to join Gastineau as the only league defenders with two seasons of 19.0-or-more sacks.
Through his nine seasons in Dallas, Ware posted the top-four single-season sack figures by a club linebacker – prior to making the switch to defensive end in 2013 – and four of the top-five single-season figures by any club defender.
Ware was a two-time winner of the Dick Butkus Award (honoring the league’s top linebackers). He won the first ever professional Butkus Award in 2008 and was a co-winner with Terrell Suggs in 2011. Ware was named All-Pro seven times, All-NFC three times, NFC Defensive Player of the Week four times, won the club’s Bob Lilly Award two times and was the team’s Man of the Year once.
Ware leaves Dallas with 710 tackles (ninth in club history), his club-best 117.0 sacks, 58 tackles for losses, 259 quarterback pressures and 32 forced fumbles – the most in club history since 1994 when the stat was first tracked.”