Parsing personnel: When to cut loose

INDIANAPOLIS -- As a businessman, Jerry Jones has been known to make difficult decisions, cutting his losses before they became too great.

As owner and general manager of the Dallas Cowboys, Jones is viewed as too sentimental to make the difficult decisions because he is too close to the players.

But in recent years he has made decisions right on time, like cutting Terrell Owens, either of the Roy Williamses, Marion Barber or Andre Gurode even if the cap situation might not have been the best or the replacement player an improvement.

“It gets pretty subjective and, yes, you can make for our team this year a bad mistake, saying, ‘You know, it’s a lot of money,’” Jones said. “Can you make a mistake the other way as well?”

He did not answer the question, but left unsaid is that any decision can be the wrong one.

And that brings us to DeMarcus Ware. The Cowboys have yet to talk with Ware’s agents about how to deal with the seven-time Pro Bowler’s $16 million salary-cap figure.

“We have been counting on DeMarcus Ware to be the best player we got on defense,” Jones said. “It is tough for him to practice. He hasn't been able to practice. It's not that he doesn't want to practice. It's just that he hasn't been able to practice. DeMarcus is paid like the best player on defense. You got to look at a lot of things here. As we evaluate either or, it's a question of, if not DeMarcus, then who?”

Jones acknowledges the Cowboys have a decision to make, but one has yet to be made. He also gave a nod to Ware the person and player.

“No one, no one has been a better and is a better Dallas Cowboy than DeMarcus Ware,” Jones said. “He has been exemplary in every way.

“But the facts are in football, when you start not being able to practice and you start not being able to really get your reps, then you can be DeMarcus Ware, who is a Hall of Famer, and get compromised by not being able to do fundamental things to get ready. So I look at that. Those are things you have to look at.”

But then Jones also does not fathom a defense without Ware. In a down year Ware had six sacks in 13 games. The Cowboys gave Anthony Spencer the franchise tag twice, handing him nearly $20 million, and he had one season in which he had more than six sacks.

“What are we going to think when we line up against Green Bay?” Jones said. “How are we going to feel there?”