5:38pm: Aaron Wilson of the Baltimore Sun (on Twitter) has the particulars. It’s a three-year, $30MM deal with $20MM guaranteed and a $5MM bonus. Ware will get base salaries of $3MM, $7MM, and $7MM.
3:36pm: Ware has officially signed with the Broncos, tweets Lindsay Jones of USA Today.
1:00pm: Continuing their defensive overhaul, the Broncos have agreed to sign veteran free agent DeMarcus Ware to a three-year, $30MM deal, reports Adam Schefter of ESPN.com (via Twitter). The contract, which will be finalized after Ware takes a physical, includes $20MM in guaranteed money, according to Schefter. That $20MM in guaranteed money is all in the first two years of the pact, says Mike Garafolo of FOX Sports (via Twitter).
Ware, 31, was released by the Cowboys earlier this week due to the $16MM cap number for 2014 on his previous deal. The team discussed the possibility of Ware taking a pay cut, but the longtime Cowboy expected to do well on the open market if the club released him, and he was certainly right. According to Schefter (via Twitter), Ware will earn $13MM in 2014 on his new deal, which is slightly more than he would have earned on his previous contract in Dallas.
Ware, once among the NFL’s elite front seven personnel, is on the verge of turning 32 and isn’t the type of game-changing talent that he once was. However, even if his days of flirting with 20 sacks per season are behind him, the former 11th overall pick is still capable of terrorizing quarterbacks, and figures to make of one half of a formidable pass-rushing duo in Denver, where Von Miller will play on the other end of the line.
The Broncos’ agreement with Ware is the third major splash the team has made on the defensive side of the ball since free agency opened. The club also splurged on the secondary, signing safety T.J. Ward away from the Browns and cornerback Aqib Talib away from the Patriots. With Peyton Manning nearing the end of his career, Denver is clearly in win-now mode, and is going all-in over the next couple seasons in an attempt to win a Super Bowl.
With Ware coming off the board at $10MM per year, veteran pass rushers like Jared Allen, Justin Tuck, and LaMarr Woodley have to be happy, as it should improve their position in negotiations. I wouldn’t expect any of those three to match Ware’s price tag, but Ian Rapoport of NFL.com reports (Twitter links) that Denver would have made a similar three-year offer for Allen if Ware had turned it down.
Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.