DeMarcus Ware has signed a three-year, $30 million contract with the Denver Broncos that includes $20 million in guaranteed money, a source told ESPN NFL Insider Adam Schefter.
The Broncos announced the signing Wednesday, but they did not confirm the financial terms.
The deal, according to the source, will pay Ware $13 million in 2014 — $250,000 more than the Pro Bowl pass-rusher was scheduled to make from the Dallas Cowboys, who released him Tuesday. His $7 million salary in 2015 also will be guaranteed, according to the source.
The deal is contingent upon the 31-year-old Ware passing a physical exam Wednesday.
Three weeks ago, Ware had two bone chips removed from his elbow. His recovery is said to be going well. Once he was released by Dallas, at least a dozen teams expressed interest.
In a 24-hour span, Denver has added Ware, cornerback Aqib Talib and safety T.J. Ward.
“[Ware and Talib] are two great players,” Ward told ESPN.com on Wednesday. “I know what they do on the field. I know those are two players I admire. We’ll work well together.”
The reigning AFC champion Broncos agreed with Talib on a six-year, $57 million deal, sources told ESPN. Denver added Ward earlier Tuesday.
“We all have those leadership qualities and we can all help this team, this defense progress in that area,” Ward said. “Just experience, leadership, physical qualities — [I] think we’ve seen with Seattle last year that definitely defense wins championships.”
The Cowboys released Ware, their all-time leader in sacks, to save $7.4 million against the salary cap. Jerry Jones, the Cowboys’ owner and general manager, called the decision “extremely difficult” in a statement released Tuesday.
Ware recorded 117 sacks in nine seasons with the Cowboys, earning Pro Bowl honors every year from 2006 to 2012. But he had a career-low six sacks in 2013 and missed the first three games with a quadriceps strain. Ware, who turns 32 in July, was set to count $16.003 million against Dallas’ cap with a $12.25 million base salary.
The Cowboys selected Ware in the first round of the 2005 draft with the 11th pick.
Ware had a streak of seven seasons with at least 11 sacks, recording 20 sacks in 2008 and 19.5 sacks in 2011. Only Hall of Famer Reggie White has more 15-sack seasons in a career (five) than Ware (three).
ESPN.com Broncos reporter Jeff Legwold and ESPN.com Cowboys reporter Todd Archer contributed to this report. ESPN NFL Insider
Joined ESPN in 2009
Former president of the Pro Football Writers of America and the author of four books