Mike Fisher for 105.3 The Fan | CBSDFW.comBy Mike Fisher

IRVING, Texas (105.3 THE FAN) – DeMarcus Ware will undergo elbow surgery on Feb. 18, an action that further muddies the pass-rusher’s future with the Dallas Cowboys.

Ware, who has experienced elbow injuries for the last two seasons, struggled through a 2013 season in which he recorded just six sacks. This surgery (to correct nerve problems) will hopefully allow him to return to the field in May for OTAs.

But that doesn’t mean the Cowboys are the team he’ll be practicing with.

Cowboys management is reluctant to part ways with a “face-of-the-franchise’’ player like Ware, a future Hall-of-Famer who as recently as last summer’s training camp seemed primed for high performance. But the creeping injury issues combined with the salary-cap concerns has the front office considering asking Ware to take a serious paycut or possibly giving him his outright release.

Ware has expressed reluctance to accept a paycut like the one taken a year ago by tackle Doug Free, who remained with the club while seeing his salary sliced in half. But Ware’s cap charge is $16 million – an exorbitant price to pay for a player who might be declining into a specialist’s role.

The renegotiated paycut is the optimal idea. But if Ware does not budge, the Cowboys can cut Ware before June 1, thus moving the cap charge from $16 million to $8.5 million – a savings of $7.5 million.

Another option is to make Ware a post-June 1 cut. If the Cowboys release Ware after June 1, the cap hit amounts to $8 million spread over the ensuing two years; that’s better than being on the hook for what’s left on his contract, which includes cap hits of $16 million (in 2014), $17 million (in 2015), $14 million (in 2016) and $14 million (in 2017).

Dallas could also extend Ware to lessen his cap impact, but that seems unwise. Ware turns 32 in July, and it reminds of a common NFL front-office slogan: “You don’t pay age.’’

Paraphrased for the Ware situation, which includes too much money, too little production and too many injury questions: “You don’t extend age, either.’’

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