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BeWare Of The DeMarcus Ware Hype Train

RJ Ochoa

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Cowboys Blog - BeWare Of The DeMarcus Ware Hype Train 2

I can already feel you yelling at me based off of the title. Relax.

DeMarcus Ware was a great member of the Dallas Cowboys right up until the end when things just weren't working out. It was rough for Cowboys Nation loyalists to see D-Ware leave, but that's the business side of football and considering what Ware did five days ago I think he's good.

Cowboys Blog - BeWare Of the DeMarcus Ware Hype Train

Where DeMarcus might not be good is in fiscal books of the Denver Broncos and their 2016 season. 'Ol #94 has a $11,666,668 Cap Number (per OverTheCap.com) for the 2016 season. That's a lot of pennies to pay someone considering that the Broncos have a ton of free agency decisions to make this offseason - like re-signing Super Bowl 50 MVP, Von Miller.

All of this is pretty common sense so people are starting to connect the dots (sidebar: Dots are one of the worst candies out there) and some hypotheticals where Ware returns back home to Dallas have been tossed out.

D-Ware is coming off of one of the finer months that he's ever had in his career. His performance in the Playoffs is a big reason why every hand inside the Denver Broncos organization got that much heavier last Sunday evening out in Santa Clara. Naturally, if he is to become available, some people want him back.

People... stop it.

DeMarcus is one of the finer Dallas Cowboys to have played over the last 20 years (a period I recently, and sadly, examined on a deep level). He will also be 34 years old when the 2016 season kicks off. That's really young in terms of the schemes of life, but that's not the case in the National Football League.

Ware dominated the Super Bowl, but let's look at a larger sample size. Here are his numbers in terms of sacks and tackles (that's what you pay pass rushers to get) over the last three regular seasons, a 48-game span:


DeMarcus Ware (33 years) 2013 2014 2015 Avg
Sacks 6 10 7.5 7.8
Tackles 28 37 17 27.3

Ware has only played in 40 of these games, averaging .59 sacks/game and 2.05 tackles/game. Let's see how he compares to to some other potential pass rushers that the Dallas Cowboys could bring in over the same span.

All of these numbers are pulled from Pro Football Reference. If you are unfamiliar with their Approximate Value (AV) metric, it is an attempt to put a single numerical value on a player's season. The greater the number, the greater that particular season for that player. Ware's 2013-2015 are the three lowest Approximate Values of his career excluding his rookie season.


Greg Hardy (27 years) 2013 2014 2015 Avg
Sacks 15 1 6 7.3
Tackles 40 3 23 22

Re-signing Greg Hardy is an option that the Cowboys have this offseason. Consider that Hardy is averaging just a half sack per year less than Ware over the last three seasons despite only playing one game in 2014. Hardy played in 29 games over this stretch (out of a possible 29, so he hasn't missed any due to injury) and posted Ware-like numbers over the same sample. Factor in that Hardy is six years younger and you have to start thinking, don't you?

Hardy's AV for 2013 was the highest of his career and 2015 (which some would say was disappointing for him) matches his second best. 2014 is an obvious outlier given that he only played one game.


Olivier Vernon (25 years) 2013 2014 2015 Avg
Sacks 11.5 6.5 7.5 8.5
Tackles 46 32 41 39.7

Now Olivier is likely going to command a nice chunk of change in free agency, and there's a reason that he should. While he might be more expensive than someone else, when you consider his youth you have to wonder if he's worth it. One of the bigger pieces of data that isn't stated above is that Vernon played all 48 of these games, so he's a pretty consistently healthy player.

It shouldn't be shocking that these three seasons are the three best Approximate Values of Olivier's four-year career.


Mario Williams (31 years) 2013 2014 2015 Avg
Sacks 13 14.5 5 10.8
Tackles 28 36 15 26.3

Super Mario has only missed one game over these last three seasons, and he averages the most sacks per season. He had a down year in 2015 despite having Rex Ryan as a Head Coach, and while Rex is really dysfunctional in a lot of ways he definitely knows how to build a defense and rush the quarterback. Nevertheless, Mario merits some serious consideration given his resume over this span.

Mario's 2013 was at the time the best AV of his career until he topped it in 2014. His down 2015 is tied for the sixth best of his career.


So let's look at all four of these players in terms of their averages over the last three seasons against one another:

Scks/Season Tckls/Season Elig. Gms Missed
DeMarcus Ware 7.8 27.3 8
Greg Hardy 7.3 22 0
Olivier Vernon 8.5 39.7 0
Mario Williams 10.8 26.3 1

First of all, when looking at Greg Hardy's numbers remember that his 2014 season (where he only played in one game) is actually factored into these measurements. Even then, he's still narrowly behind Ware in terms of his averages per season. Olivier and Mario are clearly a cut above the rest when it comes to sacks/season, but the biggest number that jumps out to me is the 8 for Ware.

Of the 48 possible games he has missed 8 - that's 17%. Neither Hardy nor Vernon have missed a game where they were eligible to play, and Mario has only missed one (2%). So not only is Ware the oldest player, not only is Ware the one who barely averages more sacks and tackles per season than Hardy despite Hardy's absence in 2014, but Ware is also the most likely to miss time during the season... 17% of the time to be specific.

I get that DeMarcus Ware has a history in Dallas and that it would be really cool for him to come home and teach the young guys, I get it. It's a nice story.

Cowboys Blog - BeWare Of The DeMarcus Ware Hype Train 1

But haven't we moved on from chasing stories? Wasn't that the whole point of not re-signing DeMarcus two years ago? It seems that we are allowing ourselves to be prisoners of the moment and ignore some indisputable facts.

The current regime of the Dallas Cowboys has made a commitment to building teams the right way - the smart way. If DeMarcus Ware is willing to sign for a lower amount of money then of course we should listen, but do you really think the guy who was 50% of the reason why his team just won the Super Bowl is about to reduce himself in any capacity? Would you?

It would be a great story if Ware came back to Dallas and we could put the whole thing together, but that's not who we are anymore. We're no longer the story chasers, we're the Championship Chasers. Let's remember that.


RJ Ochoa on Twitter's Periscope TV

What do you think after seeing all of this? If you could have one of these guys, who would you want? Let me know! Comment below, Email me at Roel.Ochoa.Jr@Gmail.com, or Tweet to me at @rjochoa!

Tell us what you think about "BeWare Of The DeMarcus Ware Hype Train" in the comments below. You can also email me at RJ.Ochoa@SlantSports.com, or Tweet to me at @RJOchoa!



I like long walks on the beach, mystery novels, no just kidding those suck. The Dallas Cowboys were put on this earth for us all to love and appreciate. I do that 24/7/365. I also love chicken parmesan. Let's roll. @RJOchoa if you wanna shout!

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Star Blog

Could Loaded FA Safety Market Drive Down Earl Thomas’ Value?

Brian Martin

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Could Loaded FA Safety Class Drive Down Earl Thomas' Price Tag?

It's no secret the Dallas Cowboys and Earl Thomas share a mutual interest in one another. Thomas has publicly stated his desire to join America's Team and the Cowboys did their darndest to make that happen last offseason. Nothing ever materialized a year ago, but it's looking as if the stars have finally aligned and a union between the two could merely be just weeks away.

Surprisingly enough, the Dallas Cowboys may have dodged a bullet last year when the Seattle Seahawks refused to part ways with their All-Pro safety. Not only would they have had to surrender a high draft pick, but they would've also had to extend Thomas' contract. Fortunately, timing is everything and now the Cowboys might just have to do the latter.

A potential contract between the Cowboys and Thomas is of course what I want to dive in today. I'm not going to get into numbers right now, because it's nearly impossible to project any kind of contract for any safety this offseason, especially for the former Seahawk, Earl Thomas.

Earl Thomas

Free Agent FS Earl Thomas (Photo by Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images)

Right now, it's a little difficult to know who might have the advantage in contract negotiations, Earl Thomas or the Dallas Cowboys. A lot of times the one that has the leverage, however slight, is the one that gets the better of the deal. As surprising as it may be, the Cowboys might just have the advantage here and I'll tell you why.

First off, this year's market for free agent safeties is pretty stacked with starting caliber players. See below:

  • Earl Thomas
  • Landon Collins
  • Lamarcus Joyner
  • Tyrann Mathieu
  • Adrian Amos
  • Clayton Geathers
  • Ha-Ha Clinton Dix
  • Glover Quinn
  • Tre Boston
  • Kenny Vaccaro
  • George Iloka
  • Jimmie Ward
  • Adrian Phillips

Earl Thomas is obviously the headliner here amongst the free agent safeties, but having so many starting caliber players available could drive down Thomas' market value just a bit. This is especially true when you take into consideration the market for FA safeties just a year ago. It was almost a complete standstill last year, with only Kurt Coleman signing a three-year $16.5 million deal with the New Orleans Saints. Not even the "Honey Badger" Tyrann Mathieu could get more than a one-year deal.

With all of these safeties available in free agency, we could be looking at another stingy market. This of course could be good or bad news for the Dallas Cowboys, especially as it pertains to Earl Thomas. Since he is the top FA safety available, everything could once again be at a standstill until he is signed.

Earl Thomas

Free Agent FS Earl Thomas (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)

Of course, we all know this will ultimately come down to determining Earl Thomas' market value. There is no denying he is still arguably the best free safety in the game today, but there are concerns about his age (30) and the two lower leg injuries he's sustained in the past three years.

Even with the loaded free agent market of starting caliber safeties and Thomas' age and recent injury history, he's still likely to receive a contract that earns him $10 million annually, give or take. It wouldn't surprise me at all if he gets another four-year deal worth $40 million, $25.7 million guaranteed, with a $9.5 million signing bonus like he signed with the Seahawks back in 2014.

The Cowboys of course would probably find a four-year $40 million deal for Earl Thomas acceptable. They would more than likely frontload the contract with a lot of protection in the details. They have the cap space to make this happen and still be able to sign their own, so money shouldn't be a problem.

Now, whether or not Thomas' market value may dip a little due to all of the above mentioned reasons will be something we will have to wait and find out. Regardless, I'd be a little shocked if Earl Thomas doesn't finish his career with the Dallas Cowboys.

Do you think Earl Thomas' market value will take a little hit this offseason?



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Star Blog

Acquiring Brown Will Give Dallas Twin Turbo Terrors

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Acquiring Brown Will Give Dallas Twin Turbo Terrors

What a difference a receiver makes, right? As Dallas fans, we know the impact of a player who can shake coverage, get open, and catch the ball. How was the season going before the Cowboys pulled the trigger for Amari Cooper in the deal with the Raiders? Cooper proved to be the lightning rod and a turning point in a season that was growing increasingly dismal. Dak Prescott and Cooper went together like peanut butter and jelly, while the Cowboys stormed to a division title and a postseason berth.

Now, imagine all of that times two… maybe even two and a half if Antonio Brown could be had from the Steelers. Scary right? We understand there’s only one ball to go around but that didn’t stop Kevin Durant from joining the Warriors, did it?

As of this writing, the best online sportsbooks like Intertops, are dealing Dallas as the seventh of 16 choices to win the NFC championship at odds of 12-1. Imagine how those odds would shrink if Brown wore a Cowboys uniform next season, giving Prescott the luxury of not one upper echelon wideout but that plus an elite receiver. Hut, hut, hut and a few clouds of smoke later the Cowboys would be moving the chains or celebrating in the endzone.

Brown and Cooper would be a devastating combination with Ezekiel Elliott coming out of the backfield. Brown was made for Dallas, it gives him an even grander stage than the one he shared with Ben Roethlisberger and Le’Veon Bell in Pittsburgh.

Despite the fact that the 'Boys haven’t won a Super Bowl since Barry Switzer was roaming the sidelines in the mid-90s, America’s Team still resides in Dallas. But we need a game-changer and Brown is just such an athlete. But what do we give in return and will that cost be worth whatever productive years Brown has left after this one? Let’s not forget that the mercurial Miami native will be 31 when the season begins and men who make a living with their legs don’t get better at that age. But Brown is so good and so unique that, even if he drops half a click, he's still amongst the best in the game.

That level of talent is hard to replicate and it could be the missing piece which allows Dallas to be a legitimate Super Bowl contender next season and the year after.

However, up to this point, we’ve been very good at dreaming of a Brown to Dallas trade but haven’t quite worked out the details. It takes two to tango and if we expect to get the Steelers’ attention we need to give them something valuable in return. Dallas surrendered their first-round pick (27th) this season when they traded for Cooper so that’s no longer an asset.

Pittsburgh would be vying for a first-round pick (and likely more) for Brown's services but some have speculated Dallas would consider dealing rookie-standout Leighton Vander Esch.

Wait... what? We know, you’re clutching your pearls, and the words are stuck in your gasp. We get it. The kid was a home run this past season, leading the Dallas defense in tackles and earning a Pro Bowl invitation in his inaugural NFL season. But this would be a Faustian deal.

The Cowboys give up a player who is poised to be a stud for years to come for a playmaker in Brown that could render a Super Bowl in the immediate future. Brown's expiration date will surely turn his milk sour sooner rather than later, but in the here and now, Antonio Brown could be the bell cow who leads the Cowboys to the promised land before he’s put out to pasture.

Just something to think about...



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Star Blog

2018 In Review: CB Anthony Brown Bounces Back

Kevin Brady

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Anthony Brown's Resurgence A Great Sign for Cowboys Defense
Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

To say it's been an up-and-down start to the career of young cornerback Anthony Brown would be an understatement.

As a sixth round pick in 2016, everything Brown contributed during his rookie season was a plus. Due to injury he was asked to step into a greater role as the season went on, and he performed well enough to make the front office comfortable allowing multiple veterans to walk for nothing in free agency the following Spring. Brown looked like a legitimate starting cornerback in the league, and when Dallas brought in Chidobe Awuzie and Jourdan Lewis during the next draft, the young secondary seemed set.

Then 2017 happened. And Anthony Brown struggled. Really struggled.

These struggles, coupled with the emergence of both Lewis and Awuzie during their own rookie seasons, made Brown's status heading into 2018 rather uncertain. Some wondered if they would trade him for a day three pick, others thought Brown could even end up being cut. Jourdan Lewis and Anthony Brown were slated to compete for the nickel cornerback job in training camp, and as it turned out, all Brown needed was that one extra chance to compete.

Brown won the job outright during the preseason, and began 2018 as the starting nickel. A fan favorite, most thought Lewis would reclaim his rightful spot on the depth chart sooner or later, but Anthony Brown's play (and Kris Richard's preferences) kept Lewis on the bench for much of the season.

Simply put, Anthony Brown balled in 2018, and was the Cowboys' second best corner for most of the year. By the end of the season Chidobe Awuzie had regained form, but Brown and Byron Jones were the most consistently reliable corners on the roster all of 2018.

Brown tallied 44 tackles, 2 sacks, and an interception in 2018, and finished third on the team in pass breakups with 8. As the slot corner Brown had an excellent season, especially for a former sixth round pick.

Now he enters a contract year, and with the Cowboys having so many guys to pay over the next two offseasons, he could find himself as an unrestricted free agent in 2020. And if he can keep up his play from last year moving forward, he could be in for a nice payday that Spring.



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