The Dallas Cowboys may be in play for Adrian Peterson if the Minnesota Vikings running back becomes a free agent, ESPN.com reported on Super Bowl Sunday, citing “a belief in league sources.”
Denver Broncos pass rusher DeMarcus Ware, heading to the NFL open market as an unrestricted free agent, has some feeling for returning to the Cowboys, according to the report from ESPN’s Adam Schefter.
A league source told ESPN that if Peterson, a former Oklahoma Sooners star and native Texan, and the Vikings can’t agree on a restructured contract, “the Cowboys could be an option.”
Ware, who turns 35 on July 31, talked last week about his good feelings about returning to the Broncos, but he still has major ties to the Cowboys. ESPN reported that Ware owns a home in the Dallas area and his two children live in the area.
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Peterson’s infatuation with playing with the Cowboys was manifested when he made a phone call to Cowboys owner Jerry Jones during the George Strait farewell concert in June 2014, as reported in a classic ESPN The Magazine profile of Jones. The article said it was obvious Peterson was expressing a wish to someday play for the Cowboys, a phone call that later was reported to draw some NFL scrutiny.
At the time, Peterson was in the fourth year of a seven-year contract that pays him $11.75 millions a year.
The Star Tribune of Minneapolis reported last month that “no,” the Vikings “will not be exercising the $18 million club option by paying Peterson’s $6 million roster bonus on March 11.”
The new league year starts March 9 and a restructured deal for Peterson would need to be completed by then, ESPN reported.
With a history of major knee injuries and turning 32 in March, Peterson’s market value could be around $5 million a year at a maximum, the Star Tribune reported in citing a website publisher’s analysis.
Cowboys backup running back Darren McFadden is coming off a two-year deal for $3 million total and backup Alfred Morris signed a two-year deal last year for $3.5 million total, according to Spotrac.com.
Ware was released in March 2014 by the Cowboys after his ninth season when his age, $16 million salary-cap figure and NFL expiration date were in question. He promptly signed with the Broncos and helped them win the Super Bowl in the 2015 season. The Cowboys, meanwhile, have been starved for sacks and quarterback pressure ever since.
Ware told ESPN on Friday that “hopefully, I can come back” to the Broncos and that he feels “like a new man” after back surgery.