When a player is nearing the end of his career, it's not uncommon for him to want to latch on with a Super Bowl contender for a shot at a ring. It's also not uncommon for a player to want to play close to home -- whether that home is where he was born, where he grew up, or where he played during the early part of his career and started his adult life. When those two desires collide, rumors start flying.
And right now, there are rumors that both DeMarcus Ware and Adrian Peterson could be headed down to Dallas to play for the Cowboys. Per ESPN.com:
When Vikings running back Adrian Peterson was asked last month to name teams he would consider joining to finish his career if he leaves Minnesota, he mentioned the Texans, Buccaneers and Giants.
But there is a belief in league circles that the Dallas Cowboys could also be in play for the potential free agent, according to league sources.
One league source said that if the Vikings and Peterson could not agree on a restructured contract, the Cowboys could be an option.
Linebacker DeMarcus Ware also is leaving the door open to play next season in Dallas, where he spent the first nine seasons of his standout career.
Ware, 34, still feels strongly about the Broncos, but Dallas also holds a special place for him. Ware still owns a home in the Dallas area, his two children live there, and it would be a full-circle way to finish a career that has seen Ware voted to nine Pro Bowls and rack up 138.5 sacks.
The desire to play in Dallas makes some sense for players looking for a ring: the Cowboys went 13-3 in 2016 and are led by two star rookies and the best offensive line in football, which features three All-Pros age 26 or younger. They look set up to compete over the next few seasons. As for the "close to home" angle, Peterson grew up in Palestine, Texas, which is just two hours away from Dallas. And Ware, as mentioned, still has a home and his family in the Dallas area. So on that level, these rumblings make sense.
From a personnel and opportunity standpoint, Ware makes a heck of a lot more sense in Dallas than Peterson does.
Ware is a pass rusher, and the Cowboys badly need help in that area. In fact, it's likely their biggest area of need. Their last two playoff appearances have ended with losses to the Green Bay Packers on days where they could not get nearly enough pressure on Aaron Rodgers. Ware is more of a rotational player now at his advanced age, but the Cowboys could do a heck of a lot worse than adding him to the stable of mediocre rushers they have on hand and then letting Rod Marinelli work his magic. Given his age (he'll be 35 in July), recent injury history, history in Dallas, and the fact that he's already transitioned into the "part-time player" phase of his career, it's also possible that the Cowboys could get Ware on the cheap.
Peterson, though, would have to accept a clear backup role behind Ezekiel Elliott, who is now the foundation of the team's offense. Right off the bat, that seems pretty unlikely. But even if Peterson were to accept that role, he'd also likely have to accept backup money. The Cowboys already devoted the No. 4 overall pick in the draft to a running back (Elliott) and are currently on the hook for the ninth-most cap dollars at the position for the 2017 season, per Spotrac, though they'll move up to eighth if the Vikings do indeed cut ties with Peterson. Going from a $12 million salary to whatever "good backup" money is would represent a huge pay cut for AP, who isn't likely to score another big contract after this offseason -- especially if he goes to Dallas to work as the backup to a workhorse.