Dallas Cowboys linebacker DeMarcus Ware likely won’t get the national fanfare of New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady, but Ware took on the role of team player Wednesday by restructuring his contract to help the Cowboys clear cap space.
The salary cap-strapped Cowboys were roughly $20 million over the expected 2013 cap of $123 million. They must be in compliance by the start of free agency on March 12.
Ware’s deal was adjusted by converting $5 million of base salary into a signing bonus, saving the Cowboys $4 million against the 2013 cap. The Cowboys also added two voidable years to his deal to help with the signing bonus proration.
This was just the first step in the Cowboys’ financial maneuverings to get under the limit. Others will likely included restructuring other contracts, cutting players and asking some to take pay cuts.
Cornerback Orlando Scandrick confirmed that he has been approached to restructure his deal. The Cowboys will certainly do the same with cornerback Brandon Carr, who had a 2013 restructure built into the five-year, $50.1 million deal he signed last spring.
This is the third straight year that Ware has re-done his deal to help the Cowboys against the cap. He said focus is helping the Cowboys win.
“You can’t do it by yourself,” Ware said. “You have to have help. When the team wins, you win. We need to get other players in here.”
Ware, who had shoulder surgery in the off-season, said he won’t need surgery to repair the injured elbow that bothered him the second half of last season. Ware said he will be ready to go for the start of training camp.
Ware is also pleased about what he’s hearing about the team’s new defensive scheme and his new role — switching from outside linebacker in the 3-4 to the defensive end in the 4-3 of new coordinator Monte Kiffin.
“I’m still putting my hand in the dirt and going after the quarterback,” Ware said. “But there will be less dropping [into coverage]. I can be more aggressive.”