By Chris Burke
March 12, 2014

DeMarcus Ware signs deal with Denver BroncosDeMarcus Ware made a franchise-high 117 sacks in his nine years with the Dallas Cowboys. (LM Otero/AP)

A day after his release from the Dallas Cowboys, DeMarcus Ware has signed with the Denver Broncos, reports ESPN's Adam Schefter. The deal, a three-year, $30 million contract with $20 million guaranteed, is pending a physical.

Ware, 31, missed the first games of his NFL career -- three in total -- as the Cowboys gasped to yet another 8-8 season last year. In total, Ware tallied just six sacks (his lowest total ever) while dealing with elbow, back and quadriceps issues.

This is just the latest free agency splash for the Broncos, who have also signed S T.J. Ward and CB Aqib Talib. Clearly, with Peyton Manning's career winding down, Denver executive V.P. John Elway has fully embraced the "Win now" approach. Ward, Talib and Ware will earn a combined $60 million in guaranteed money, which could bind Elway's hands in relation to the salary cap two or three years from now.

For the 2014 season, though, Denver may have a defense that can hold its own in concert with its record-setting offense. The three players signed within the first 24 hours of free agency will join Von Miller (off a season shortened by injury and suspension), Terrance Knighton and others on what has the makings of a dominant unit.

MORE COVERAGE: 2014 NFL free agency tracker, grades

The Broncos may be in line for a significant bounce-back season from Ware, too, and the money they shelled out indicated they're thinking that same way. Ware should have a chip on his shoulder after being cut by the only team he'd ever played for, off a season in which his numbers dipped while he battled through injury. For as much as the coming season or two may be Manning's final shot at another title, they also could serve as something of a last hurrah for Ware, a first-round pick way back in 2005.

Because of how Elway has chosen to spend his cash, the Broncos may find themselves in some dire situations down the line. They won't have to worry about that next season, when their upgraded defense and loaded offense will make them Super Bowl favorites again.

Grade: B-plus. Assuming he can stay close to 100 percent, Ware will produce for the Broncos. Denver fans ought to be a little nervous about just how much the franchise may have to rebuild once Manning hangs 'em up. Winning the Vince Lombardi Trophy next season would make those future concerns easier to contemplate.

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