NFL: Star pass rushers DeMarcus Ware and Julius Peppers cut by respective teams
Last Updated: 12/03/14 10:26am
Seven-time Pro Bowl pass rusher DeMarcus Ware and eight-time Pro Bowler Julius Peppers have both hit free agency after being cut by the Dallas Cowboys and Chicago Bears respectively.
Ware, who is the Cowboys' all-time sacks leader, was victim of a cost-cutting measure as Dallas look to relieve themselves of severe salary cap troubles.
"A decision like this, involving a man who is a cornerstone player in the history of your franchise, is extremely difficult," Jerry Jones, owner and general manager of the Cowboys, said.
Ware, 31, drafted 11th overall by Dallas in 2005 and fourth in career sacks with 117 among active players, twice led the NFL in sacks and has been named four times in the first-team All Pro list.
In an injury-hit 2013 campaign, Ware registered six sacks to snap a run of seven straight seasons with double-digits in sacks including 20 in 2008 and 19.5 in 2011.
Defensive end Peppers also seems to have been released by Chicago so the Bears can save salary cap space.
Although they are not has close to the spending limit as Dallas, Chicago were due to have over $18 million tied up in the 34-year-old Peppers' contract this season.
"We appreciate Julius' contributions to the Bears over the last four years," Chicago general manager Phil Emery said.
"He was a leader on our defence starting every game since coming to Chicago. His accomplishments over his NFL career place him among the best defensive ends over the past 20 years."
The Bears have signed free agent Lamarr Houston as a replacement for Peppers. The 26-year-old, who did not re-sign with the Oakland Raiders, has been given a five-year deal worth a reported $35m.