By Pat Graham
ENGLEWOOD, Colo. (AP) — The Denver Broncos kept their free agency focus on defense as they agreed to a three-year deal with pass rusher DeMarcus Ware, according to a person with knowledge of the situation.
The person spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity Wednesday because the deal has yet to be announced and is pending a physical.
The deal with Ware is worth $30 million, with $20 million guaranteed.
Ware was let go Tuesday by Dallas in a salary-cap move. He had a franchise-record 117 sacks for the Cowboys since being drafted in the first round in 2005. He had a career-low six sacks last season and missed games for the first time in his career because of a thigh injury.
The 31-year-old Ware will play opposite of Von Miller, who's rehabbing from an ACL injury he suffered on Dec. 22.
Denver is on quite a spending spree so far in free agency, agreeing to deals with safety T.J. Ward, cornerback Aqib Talib and Ware for a combined $110 million (approximately $60 million guaranteed). The Broncos are trying to upgrade the talent on the roster, not knowing how long Peyton Manning will be running the offense.
It's really no surprise the Broncos are concentrating on defense in the wake of a 43-8 loss to Seattle in the Super Bowl last month. Ward thinks the trio of new players brings not only leadership but a level of physicality to the field. Denver's defense surrendered 356 yards and nearly 25 points a game last season.
"I think you see with Seattle's defense last year — definitely defense wins championships," Ward said. "(Ware and Talib) are two great players. I'm eager to get to work with them. I don't know them personally yet, but I know what they do on the field. Those are two players I admire. I think we'll work well together."
Talib actually flew in from Dallas on the same flight as Ware on Wednesday morning, not even realizing it until halfway through the trip. He was ecstatic to hear that Broncos boss John Elway brought Ware on board.
"Every year you just want to better your team," Talib said. "Mr. Elway decided to better his team on defense this year, since the offense looks pretty good."
AP Pro Football Writer Barry Wilner contributed.