DeMarcus Ware gave the Dallas Cowboys an opportunity to match the offer he was given by the Denver Broncos on Wednesday. Ware’s agent Pat Dye called Jerry Jones when he received the three-year, $30 million proposal, but Jones said Dallas wouldn’t be able to make that type of commitment.
Dye felt the Cowboys were trying to spread their available money around to several players rather than spend it all on one.
The Cowboys never mentioned a salary figure when they had discussions with Ware leading up to the opening day of free agency. They didn’t want to insult him with a low number.
But as Dye made known in a Thursday morning radio interview with Shan Shariff of 105.3 The Fan [KRLD-FM], Ware was willing to take a pay cut.
"Certainly we recognize that DeMarcus will be 32 in July and he’s had some injuries and his production was down last year," Dye said. "For those reasons, we were willing to entertain a reduction. But I just don’t think it was going to be to the level that maybe the Cowboys could afford."
It wasn’t a secret that the Cowboys were looking for Ware to take less money. Jones talked about it with reporters on multiple occasions during the scouting combine in Indianapolis last month. Ware wasn’t pleased that Jones made his business public.
"Mr. Jones apologized for sharing some of his internal thoughts about the age, the injuries, the production and all that, relative to what DeMarcus was going to make," Dye said. "He didn’t deny those were his feelings, but he said ‘I should have communicated those to you directly before ever saying anything to the media about that.’
"DeMarcus was disappointed he had to read that and hear it for the first time through the media, but DeMarcus understands this is a business. He got past that pretty quickly."
But Dye said there is no resentment. The Cowboys gave Ware a chance to find a better offer and they didn’t hold him hostage past the start of free agency. And Ware was grateful.
"These guys drafted this guy with the 11th pick in the draft, they paid him fairly on his rookie contract, they paid him very fairly on his second contract," Dye said. "He’s made $52 million the last four years, so there’s no bitterness about that."
Dye said Ware demonstrated his appreciation by not fielding offers from rival NFC East teams.
"There were teams in the NFC East that were dying to get him in for a visit," Dye said. "DeMarcus felt so appreciative and so grateful to Mr. Jones for allowing him — for the lack of a better word — his freedom, that he didn’t feel good about coming back and playing the Cowboys twice a year."
Now with the Broncos, the only way Ware will play against the Cowboys in 2014 is if Dallas and Denver meet in the Super Bowl. It’s possible that Ware’s next trip to AT&T Stadium could come when his name is placed in the Ring of Honor after he retires.
"He’ll always be a Cowboy," Dye said. "He’ll keep a home there. And I feel certain that he’ll come back there when he’s done playing."