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Broncos Alter DeMarcus Ware’s Contract

I am using “alter” in my title here (previously “rework” if you look at the URL and tweet), because “restructure” is often poorly used by the media.  “Restructuring” should only be used to refer to the act of converting non-prorated salary into a signing bonus.  In Ware’s case, his contract cannot be restructured unless it was extended, as he only had one year left on his deal.  In order to save salary cap space, Ware either had to agree to an extension (either real, or fake by using void years), or he had to take a pay cut.  We will soon see what is the full truth.

UPDATE, 2:20 PM MT: It is indeed a pay cut (of $3.5 million) that can be earned back from incentives.  Bob posted some numbers by Albert Breer’s that gave an early glimpse at Ware’s pay cut.

UPDATE 2, 3:20 PM MT: Mike Florio is now reporting that Ware has $4 million fully guaranteed, not $2 million as initially speculated. Ware’s 2016 contract year should now look like this:

Base Salary
Prorated Bonus Roster Bonus* Cap Number Dead Money (if cut)* Cap Savings (if cut)*
$3,666,668 $500,000 $8,166,668 $5,666,668 $2,500,000

*It is unclear when Ware’s roster bonus is precisely due.

One interesting aspect is that the Broncos only guaranteed $2 million of Ware’s salary in exchange for the $3.5 million pay cut.  Hypothetically, should the Broncos decide before the regular season that Ware isn’t worth an additional $4-4.5 million (depending on the timing of the roster bonus being due), Ware could still be cut before then.  I see that as highly unlikely, but the option is there.

I’ve struck out the paragraph above because if Ware does indeed have an addition $2 million in guaranteed base salary, $5.66 million in dead money is not quite as appealing in exchange for only $2.5 million in cap savings.  As Florio speculated, this likely provides some security to Ware against being cut prior to the regular season.

Should Ware earn any of his incentives, they should be charged as a negative adjustment to Denver’s 2017 salary cap, as Peyton Manning’s $4 million Super Bowl bonus was charged in 2016.