2:47pm: No extra years were added to Ware’s deal, per Albert Breer of NFL.com (on Twitter). He will make $4MM in base salary, with a $500K roster bonus in addition to the potential incentives mentioned below.
2:41pm: Ware’s wages in 2016 will be reduced from $10MM to $6.5MM, Mike Florio of PFT reports. $4MM of that figure is fully guaranteed. The 33-year-old linebacker can earn back all of the salary he reduced via sack-based incentives, Florio notes, with a formula that starts at eight sacks and ends at 13. Ware’s representatives believed on this market the veteran linebacker, who turns 34 in July, would have earned upwards of $10MM AAV. But Ware didn’t want to change teams again.
However, the Broncos wanted to reduce Ware’s contract because he’s in line to have less of an every-down role and more of a passing-situation presence, Mike Klis of 9News tweets. The Broncos have Shaquil Barrett and Shane Ray as able backups who could see more time as a result.
The 12-year veteran potentially faced a situation where he’d be cut of he didn’t agree to restructure his contract, which called for the 33-year-old edge stalwart to make more than $11.66MM in the final year of his three-year, $30MM contract with the Broncos.
Ware was due a $3MM roster bonus on Sunday, per Troy Renck of the Denver Post (on Twitter) and the Broncos identified the All-Pro blind-side rusher as a priority during an offseason where the Super Bowl champions’ roster has been gutted by free agent defections and cap-related cuts.
The Broncos lost Brock Osweiler, Malik Jackson and Danny Trevathan on Day 1 of free agency and cut Louis Vasquez and Owen Daniels to create cap space Wednesday. C.J. Anderson could be the latest defection, with the Dolphins signing the running back to a four-year, $18MM offer sheet after the Broncos opted to apply the low-end tender to Anderson and open the door for teams’ interest.
A four-time first-team All-Pro, Ware registered 12 quarterback hits in the Broncos’ three postseason contests. Super Bowl MVP Von Miller totaled six during this span. Ware collected 7.5 sacks in 11 games last season despite missing a career-most five contests due to a back injury.
Photo courtesy USA Today Sports Images