Yes, Broncos linebacker DeMarcus Ware will see less money in his paycheck next season. However, he can earn back every penny.
Per a source with knowledge of the situation, Ware agreed to reduce his compensation from $10 million to $6.5 million. Of the amount, $4 million is fully guaranteed, which means he most likely won’t have to worry about being cut on the eve of the start of the regular season.
Ware, who turns 34 in July, can earn the $3.5 million back by registering sacks, in a formula that starts with eight and ends at 13.
Specifically, he gets $1.25 million for eight sacks, $2.5 million for nine, $3 million for 11, and $3.5 million for 13.
Ware and his representatives believed that he’d earn $10 million or more this year on the open market, but Ware didn’t want to change teams two years after leaving the Cowboys. Also, the reduction in pay is fair for both sides because he’ll now be on a reduced pitch count, with a target of roughly 35 snaps per game.
Ware also missed five games in 2015 due to back problems, which surely was one of the reasons for Denver’s request for protection moving forward. If he can’t play, he won’t get sacks and he will have a harder time earning back the money.
So it’s a win-win for both sides, keeping Ware in Denver and giving him a fair chance to make every penny he was previously due to make, with the extra $3.5 million being pushed into next year’s cap calculations.