Dallas Cowboys linebacker DeMarcus Ware was all about business on Monday.
Standing in the parking lot surveying a brand new Porsche Cayenne Turbo S, Ware was giving the car one final look over.
It was a gift for his wife, Taniqua. He also had a dozen long stem roses in the front seat.
"It’s our anniversary," Ware said with a smile. "I have to keep momma happy."
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A car that retails for roughly $170,000 should do the trick.
But just in case, the repercussions from the events of last weekend should help keep momma happy for years to come. The only person happier than Ware over the seven-year, $100 million contact defensive tackle Albert Haynesworth signed with the Washington Redskins last Friday was Haynesworth himself.
"Oh, yeah," Ware said with a broad smile when asked about the Haynesworth contract. "I’m ready for Christmas. I have been giving gifts. It’s time for me to get a gift."
The Cowboys have made so secret of their intention to sign Ware to a long-term contract extension. In fact, they have made it their top off-season priority. Conventional wisdom suggests that the Haynesworth deal is where the Ware negotiations will start.
While Haynesworth is a disruptive player inside, Ware is the league’s best pass rusher with the bigger upside and potential to have the longer more productive career. Ware has made three Pro Bowls in his first four years in the league when he has recorded 53.5 sacks. He notched 20 in 2008, threatening the NFL sack record of 22.5 by Michael Strahan and finishing second in NFL defensive player of the year voting. Teams pay for sacks (see Dwight Freeney and Jared Allen) and nobody disrupts quarterbacks more than Ware.
Add in Ware’s clean image, which will allow him to be a team ambassador for years to come, and it even makes more sense to pay him over Haynesworth, whose history is littered with red flags. But Haynesworth has set the baseline for Ware’s upcoming deal.
Though on paper Haynesworth signed a seven-year deal that could swell from $100-$115 million, it has a lot of monopoly money in it. The fifth year has a trick in it, calling for a lump sum of $29 million in salary and bonuses in 2013. He has base salaries of $10.8 million and $12 million in 2014 and 2015.
Haynesworth will never see that money so in reality he is getting a four-year, $48 million deal that includes $41 million in guaranteed money. He will get $35.6 million in the first two years of the deal, including a $21 million lump sum payment next year when there will be no salary cap.
But no matter how you slice the Haynesworth deal, Ware is in line for a big pay day. Not bad for a kid who grew up in Auburn, Ala., but wasn’t considered good enough to go Auburn or Alabama out high school and had to settle for Troy University.
Ware might have been giving gifts on Monday. He will soon be on the receiving end on easily the biggest contract in Cowboys history and possible one of the richest, if not the richest, in NFL history.