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Fake News: DeMarcus Ware Never Took Pay Cut from Cowboys

Jess Haynie

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Fake News: DeMarcus Ware Never Took Pay Cut from Cowboys

Former Dallas Cowboys sack master DeMarcus Ware recently advised Dez Bryant that he should take a pay cut to help the Cowboys and remain on the team. Ware cited that other Dallas leaders such as Tony Romo, Jason Witten, and he had all done the same at certain points. One problem; none of that ever happened.

Ware said the following as part of a longer discussion on Dez's future in Dallas:

"With the $12 million that they owe him, $12.5 million for the next two years, you're going to have to take a pay cut to go and get the extra guys to help out your team and be that team player. I had to do it. Romo had to do it. Witten had to do it. All those guys have to do those things."

Even with our limited resources in our moms' basements, it didn't take much to debunk Ware's claim. Not only did DeMarcus never take a pay cut during his time with the Cowboys, but his refusal to do so was the exact reason why he ended up being released by Dallas and landing with the Denver Broncos in 2014.

Similarly, neither Romo or Witten have ever taken pay cuts. Even without Super Bowl rings, both were among the highest-paid players at their positions for the majority of their careers.

Perhaps Ware's comment was based on confusion, thinking about his deal being restructured rather than a true pay cut. All three players did restructure their contracts at numerous points, moving guaranteed money into later years to help create immediate cap space. This happens all the time in Dallas, with the most recent examples being our Pro Bowl offensive linemen.

But a restructure is NOT a pay cut. The total compensation does not change. All that changes is when paid bonus money is counted against the salary cap in each year of his contract. The player doesn't lose a dime in the end.

True pay cuts can happen. One occurred in 2013 when offensive tackle Doug Free agreed to a reduced overall salary to remain with the team and avoid being released. It happened again in 2016 when Brandon Carr took a salary reduction to stay in Dallas. These were not restructures; the players accepted lower salaries and overall compensation so they could keep being Cowboys.

Dez Bryant

Dallas Cowboys WR Dez Bryant

This isn't to say that DeMarcus Ware is wrong about Dez Bryant. I agree that Bryant should take a pay cut given his performance level and effectiveness the last few seasons and what he projects to do going forward. Bryant is one of the most expensive receivers in the NFL and isn't giving the team the kind of franchise play that his salary suggests.

But Ware's inaccurate statement about his own history and that of other Cowboys figureheads needed to be challenged. DeMarcus was asking for Dez to do something that he and almost every other premiere player in the NFL would have, or actually have in Ware's case, refused to do.

Tom Brady signing a contract below market value is one thing. That is a new deal that he and the team agreed to in the interests of their mutual success. But asking Dez to accept a reduction on a contract he signed just two years ago with Dallas, based on his market value at that time, is a very different request.

If Ware was genuinely confused about a pay cut versus a restructuring, he should know that it's the Cowboys who've declined to move money around on Bryant's deal. They've kept his guaranteed amounts fixed to preserve leverage in case they do want to release him. Dez would happily take a restructure if it was offered; it increases his job security in later years.

So while larger media outlets are reporting Ware's advice to Dez as sage counsel from a Cowboys legend, don't believe the hype. Ware, Tony Romo, and Jason Witten never took the pay cuts that DeMarcus claimed. In fact, Ware specifically refused to do so when asked in 2014.

But what do I know? I'm just a blogger.



Cowboys fan since 1992, blogger since 2011. Bringing you the objectivity of an outside perspective with the passion of a die-hard fan. I love to talk to my readers, so please comment on any article and I'll be sure to respond!

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8 Comments
  • Michael Hobock

    Really good info. Def a big diff in restructure vs pay cut. Agree that Bryant Should take a cut but i also think it’s clear that some of Dez’s issue is Dak. He doesn’t throw the deep ball well yet and doesn’t have the confidence to push the ball to dez when he’s covered like Romo would. Remember when the back shoulder throw was dynamite between Romo and dez? Dak and him need to get on same page.

    • kabob

      I think you’re still looking at the Romo years through rose-colored glasses. Or have you forgotten back-to-back-to-back 8-8 seasons and Romo only at his best when he threw less than 35 times a game? That that’s how he managed to keep the INTs below double-digits in 2014? Or that he was often inaccurate and forced throws to covered receivers? Romo was great but he was not a superior QB to Dak Prescott at the same point in their careers.

      • Michael Hobock

        Point I’m making isn’t about comparing dak and Romo. It’s about the usage of dez and his strengths vs weaknesses. Dak’s strengths aren’t in line with dez’s strengths. Romo was a better fit. Doesn’t mean dak can’t get better or they can’t get in better sync. Also, Romo didn’t throw a ton of picks. He had memorable games where he threw costly picks but his overall numbers were in line with other elite qbs. Misconception that always bothered me about Romo. He did more with less than a lot of others could have done

  • Troy M.

    It’s time to part ways with Dez. He isn’t worth the dollars he get’s, end of story. He drops n awful lot of balls, starting to remind me of Austin Miles. He is also a bit of a cancer on the sidelines, makes one wonder what it’s like in the locker-room.

    • Michael Hobock

      Dropped balls and unpolished route running are certainly blemishes on him but gotta remember that it isn’t easy to just go get a top end WR. Dak also has to bear some responsibility. He has to improve. If dez us willing to take a pay cut it would be worth it to keep him especially if he and dak and get on same page.

      • http://www.facebook.com/DallasCowboyBooksBlog fgoodwin

        Agreed Michael. I’m firmly in the camp that Dez is not worth his contract. But how do we replace him? “Better the devil you know than the devil you don’t know”.

  • Adam Mwakikoti

    Dak isn’t seasoned yet. This is what happens when you have a young QB. Is Dez as good as he was, no, but much of that is the guy throwing him the ball.

  • Jimmy Smith

    Dez is no DW and needs to move on. We need a WE1 whose biggest claim to fame is not dropping balls

Game Notes

Why The Seahawks Will Be Looking Into A Mirror Against The Cowboys Sunday

Kevin Brady

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Sean's Scout: Starting Front 7 Sets Tone Early, Cowboys Depth Falters in Loss to Bengals 1
AP Photo/Michael Ainsworth

For the better part of the last decade one defense has reigned supreme over the NFC. One defense has continually put their offense and team in position to win big games, including a dominant Super Bowl win over one of the more productive offenses in recent memory.

That defense, of course, belonged to the Seattle Seahawks.

With a secondary deemed as the "Legion of Boom" and a defensive line which rotated through Pro Bowl level talent routinely, the Seahawks bolstered one of the best defenses the NFL has ever seen. A defense which perfectly complimented the physical, run first philosophy their offense lived by.

Players like Richard Sherman, Earl Thomas, Kam Chancellor, Michael Bennett, and Bobby Wagner will arguably be Hall of Famers one day, and they wreaked havoc on the conference for a strong 3-5 year stretch.

Now, however, things are changing.

Gone are many of the elite players which once bolstered the Seattle defense to top-tier status, and while some big names remain, the talent level simply isn't the same. The Seahawks missed the postseason a year ago, and now sit at 0-2 before their home opener today against the Cowboys.

Their window looks to be closed, while their opponent today is looking to build their defense (and team) in the mold of what once was in Seattle.

Former Seahawks defensive coordinator Kris Richard has come to Dallas and brought with him a more aggressive defensive philosophy, one which he deployed successfully with the Seahawks. Under Richard the Cowboys are blitzing more often on third down than they have in the past under Rod Marinelli, they're utilizing more single high safety looks, and they are allowing their long and talented corners to do what they do best in coverage.

The Seahawks once leaned on a deep pass rush and long, physical secondary. The 2018 Cowboys are looking to do the same thing.

The Seahawks once leaned on a mobile quarterback to make plays with his feet while relying on a strong running game and one of the league's best backs. The 2018 Cowboys are looking to do the same thing.

Byron Jones and Chidobe Awuzie look like they were molded in a 2013-Seahawks lab as cornerbacks, and DeMarcus Lawrence is as productive as any pass rusher those defenses had. Of course, we aren't able to say the Cowboys have the consistent front four depth that those Seattle teams did or that they have the single high safety of Earl Thomas' caliber, but the preliminary pieces are clearly in place.

Today the Cowboys look to improve to 2-1 with a conference road win. But, they also look to bury the Seahawks in the past and take another step towards cementing themselves as one of the elite defenses in the NFC.

It won't happen over night, but anyone can see that the potential is there.



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Player News

Could Cowboys DT Datone Jones Earn Starting Role with Maliek Collins Out?

Sean Martin

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Could Cowboys DT Datone Jones Earn Starting Role with Maliek Collins Out?

Dallas Cowboys Defensive Tackle Maliek Collins is out for Sunday's game at the Seahawks with a sprained knee, further opening the door for Datone Jones to earn his spot among the "Hot Boyz". The moniker given to the Cowboys front seven this season, the team's depth up front has been a strength in totaling nine sacks through two games.

Last season, Datone Jones was a part of this rotation late in the year. Coming on strong at the 3T position while Maliek Collins played at the 1T, Jones is the type of versatile defender with veteran experience that Rod Marinelli can get the most out of.

Returning from a knee injury himself, Jones may take some time to be the disruptive interior player we saw at the end of 2017. Through two games, the Cowboys had played Collins at his original position of 3T, with Antwaun Woods doing more than enough to continue playing at 1T.

This potentially makes Collins and Jones two players fighting for one spot. Collins followed up his performance at the Panthers with a sack of Cam Newton by constantly playing in the Giants' backfield last week.

John Owning on Twitter

Guessing that means no Irving, I'd say Tyrone Crawford then Antwaun Woods. I have high hopes for Datone Jones once he returns though. https://t.co/9frjFK2J9J

A player determined to not let his team's misuse slow down his progress, after an incredible rookie season at 3T, Collins is returning from his second broken foot in three years.

Through his five years in the NFL, Jones has only played a full 16 games once.

The most games Datone has started in a season is four. Maliek Collins should like his chances of playing over Jones once both are healthy, and the Cowboys should be equally thrilled with the opportunity to keep both fresh in rotation.

Following Sunday's game in Seattle and next week against the Lions, the Cowboys can return David Irving from suspension to play all over their defensive line - his best position also being at three technique.

Without the wealth of talent they now have at all four positions up front, the Cowboys have had too many bodies to fill similar roles in the past. Thanks to the addition of Kris Richard along with strong edge play from Taco Charlton and rookie Dorance Armstrong, the Cowboys defensive line can do no wrong in 2018, and using Jones in week three and beyond should only add to this.

The Cowboys biggest key to success against the Seahawks will be containing Russell Wilson. Pressuring him in his face to collapse the pocket gives Dallas a chance to really slow the Seahawks offense, something they'll be relying on Jones to help them do as DeMarcus Lawrence and Randy Gregory also work with favorable match ups at defensive end.

Tell us what you think about "Could Cowboys DT Datone Jones Earn Starting Role with Maliek Collins Out?" in the comments below. You can also email me at Sean.Martin@InsideTheStar.com, or Tweet to me at @SeanMartinNFL!



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Dallas Cowboys

Could a Cowboys Win VS Seahawks Spark an Earl Thomas Trade?

Mauricio Rodriguez

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Are the Dallas Cowboys Done Pursuing FS Earl Thomas?

As we enter week 3 of the 2018 regular season, we might be entering the next important date in the Earl Thomas conversation. It's been such a wild narrative ever since the Seattle Seahawks' safety asked Dallas Cowboys Head Coach Jason Garrett to "come get him" and the end of this talk is not close. The trade deadline won't come until October 30th. Only then will we be able to put this conversation aside until the 2019 Free Agency arrives.

After all that's happened, including the Cowboys offering a second round draft pick for Thomas, it may come off as optimistic to expect Thomas will wear the Star in 2018. However, when the Dallas Cowboys visit Seattle today, a victory on the road could spark the trade we've been discussing since December. 

Ian Rapoport on Twitter

The #Cowboys and #Seahawks haven't spoken about Earl Thomas since before he return. Some in the Cowboys organization hope to restart talks today. Seattle would have to be blown away to even consider it. https://t.co/dhbSNPeiiF

Ian Rapoport reported today that trade talks ended between both teams after Thomas returned to the team just before the season began. The Cowboys, according to the NFL Network reporter, "hope to restart talks today."

It only makes sense, right?

The Seattle Seahawks are not re-signing the All-Pro safety. It's not happening. Thomas is clearly unhappy with the situation and hasn't been afraid to show it in social media. Shortly after returning to the Seahawks, he went as far as posting that "the disrespect has been well noted and will not be forgotten."

If the Seahawks lose today against the Dallas Cowboys, they'd be 0-3 in a division where the Los Angeles Rams and San Francisco 49ers are the favorites. It'd be really difficult to bounce back into the  playoffs if they open their year with three straight losses. Even more with a very bad offensive line.

If their season comes to a point where all seems lost, why keep Earl Thomas? Why would they wait until free agency next year to let him go instead of getting compensation now? The Dallas Cowboys have already offered them a second round pick earlier this month, according  to reports from ESPN's Adam Schefter. It'd be very hard to understand if they open their season with three losses and still refuse to trade him for a second rounder, considering they don't want to give Thomas an extension.

Kam Chancellor's Seahawks Career Ends, Will Earl Thomas be Next to Leave? 2

The Cowboys and the Seahawks' front offices will be in the same building today, making this even more intriguing. The Seahawks will have the Cowboys out of their way, meaning they wouldn't face their All-Pro safety if they trade him after today's game. This is without a doubt a very important chapter in the Earl Thomas' trade discussion.

So far, the Dallas Cowboys defense has looked legit, ranking as the NFL's third best in points allowed. However, the team is familiar with losing in key moments against elite quarterbacks. Thomas could take this unit to the next level, and put the defense in a very good position to lead the Cowboys to the playoffs and beyond.

For now, Thomas will wear a Seahawks uniform and play against the team in which he might eventually end up. As if the game that's going to be played on the field wasn't enough action, Cowboys Nation will be wondering what's being talked about by both front offices inside CenturyLink Field.

Tell me what you think about "Could a Cowboys Win VS Seahawks Spark an Earl Thomas Trade?" in the comments below, or tweet me @MauNFL and let’s talk football! If you like football and are looking for a Dallas Cowboys show in Spanish, don’t miss my weekly Facebook Live! show, Primero Cowboys!



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