After years of cap mismanagement by Jerry Jones and the Cowboys' front office, the Cowboys released DeMarcus Ware on Tuesday. Ware is a certain Hall of Famer and the best Cowboys defender over the last decade. But how does that affect the Eagles?
To begin, assuming Ware doesn't sign back with the Cowboys (a possible, yet unlikely scenario), the Eagles will no longer have to face him twice per year. That would also assume Ware would not sign with the Giants, whose 4-3 would be a bad fit, and the Redskins, who already have two very good OLBs in place in their 3-4. Over the course of his career, Ware has sacked Eagles QBs 16 times, which is a higher total than any other opponent Ware has faced.
The Cowboys defensive line is a disaster, as currently constructed. In 2013, Jason Hatcher had 11 sacks, but he reportedly has a number of interviews lined up, beginning with the Super Bowl champs.
Jason Hatcher has 5 visits scheduled starting with a trip to Seattle tonight.— Calvin Watkins (@calvinwatkins) March 12, 2014
Meanwhile, Anthony Spencer, who had 11 sacks in 2012 but missed almost all of 2013 with a microfracture surgery, also reportedly has several interviews lined up.
DE/OLB Anthony Spencer has several visits scheduled.— Calvin Watkins (@calvinwatkins) March 12, 2014
Ware, Hatcher, Spencer, and Jay Ratliff were the Cowboys' 4 best defensive linemen heading into last season, and now they might all be gone. If you look at Ourlads.com's depth chart for the Cowboys (there's some gray area as to whether Kyle Wilber should be considered a DE or OLB), here are the career stats of every DL on their roster, compared to Ware's stats:
Current Cowboys defensive linemen have a combined 20.5 sacks and 4 forced fumbles in 189 career games, while DeMarcus Ware has 117 sacks and 32 forced fumbles in 141 career games. That's staggering.
So should the Eagles have interest? Former Eagles personnel man Louis Riddick sure thinks so.
I would bet Philly is working hard to get Demarcus Ware. Very hard.— Louis Riddick (@LRiddickESPN) March 11, 2014
I'm not so sure. Ware is aging, declining, he's been dinged up recently, and he's going to want to be paid a lot of money. ESPN's Adam Schefter also reported that the Broncos are the early "favorite" to land Ware.
Filed to ESPN: Denver has emerged as the favorite to land former Dallas DE DeMarcus Ware, per league sources.— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) March 12, 2014
If the Eagles think Ware can be anything close to the player he was before the Cowboys moved to a 4-3, they should consider being aggressive. But at a minimum, it appears that an elite player on a division rival team is out of the Eagles' hair.