For a change, the official numbers for a big-ticket player match the unofficial numbers that were reported before the official numbers were available.
In Denver, DeMarcus Ware gets $13 million in 2014, fully guaranteed. Another $3.5 million for 2015 is fully guaranteed, for a total guarantee at signing of $16.5 million.
In Dallas, Ware’s guarantee moving forward was $0.00. And his full compensation for 2014 was due to be $12.75 million, $250,000 less than his earnings in Dallas.
With Ware getting more in Denver this year than he would have gotten in Dallas, an obvious question arises: Why didn’t the Cowboys try to trade him?
The cap charge (and net savings) would have been the same, since Dallas opted not to use the post-June 1 designation when cutting Ware. (The post-June 1 designation would have required the Cowboys to carry Ware’s $16 million cap number until June 2.) There was no reason for the Cowboys not to at least try to pull off a trade.
With Denver willing to pay $13 million this year, the existing contract easily could have been reworked. Given the financial commitment, the Broncos likely would have given up something to get Ware, even if it were a Jonathan Martin-style conditional seventh rounder in 2015.
Per a league source, the Cowboys didn’t try to trade Ware to Denver. It’s safe to say they didn’t try to trade Ware to anyone.
The Cowboys, by all appearances, badly misread the market for Ware. They didn’t believe he was worth $12.75 million this year, and so they assumed he wasn’t worth $12.75 million to anyone else. They assumed wrong, and they could have tried to finagle something of value in return for Ware’s rights, if instead of huffing and puffing about getting Ware to take less they’d simply rolled up their sleeves and started making phone calls.