The reworked deal converts $5 million of this season's base salary into a signing bonus, saving the Cowboys $4 million against the cap, according to a source familiar with the deal. The Cowboys are roughly $20 million over the salary cap.
The Cowboys also added voidable years to Ware's contract to 2017 to lower the cap numbers even more in 2013, sources say. The deal voids after the 2015 season.
In addition to Ware, the Cowboys now plan to restructure the contracts of about a dozen players to get under the salary cap by March 12, according to a source.
According to a source, the Cowboys asked backup linebacker Dan Connor to take a pay cut. Connor is scheduled to make $3 million in base salary and he counts $4.3 million against the salary cap.
If Connor refuses to take a pay cut, he could be released. The Cowboys value Connor's ability to play linebacker in a 4-3 scheme and would like to keep him because of his experience in that alignment.
The deal with Ware could be an indication the Cowboys do not expect to complete negotiations to extend Tony Romo's contract and lower his team-high $16.8 million salary cap figure before March 12.
Amid the restructurings, the Cowboys also signed veteran long snapper L.P. LaDouceur to a five-year deal, agent Gil Scott said Thursday. A source said LaDouceur received a $600,000 signing bonus.
"They wanted him, and he wanted to be there," Scott said. "It's all good from that standpoint. You always wonder if you can get more in free agency. Maybe? Maybe not. When you've played in one place and want to remain a Cowboy for your career, that transcends everything else."
LaDouceur, who has been with the Cowboys since 2005, was scheduled to be an unrestricted free agent. The Cowboys and Scott met at the NFL scouting combine last week in Indianapolis.
Information from ESPN NFL Insider Adam Schefter, ESPN's Ed Werder and ESPNDallas.com's Calvin Watkins and Todd Archer used in this report.