More than Tony Romo, Jason Witten and, yes, Mat McBriar, the most valuable Cowboy is DeMarcus Ware.
Drafted 11th overall in '05, the outside linebacker has led Dallas in sacks in all five of his seasons and is the only player in the NFL with at least 10 quarterback traps in each of the last four years. He's a beast. Scary to think where the Cowboys would've been without him.
Even with his dominating pressure on opposing quarterbacks, Dallas has struggled to create turnovers -- one of the reasons Wade Phillips was fired last year -- and has won just a single playoff game.
Still, Ware doesn't have the ultimate respect of his peers, evidenced by him being ranked as the league's 12th overall best player in the NFL Network's Top 100. The network is in the process of releasing its total list, voted on by league players.
Cracking the Top 100 for Dallas: Jay Ratliff (75), Romo (72), Miles Austin (70), Andre Gurode (57) and Witten (36).
If not No. 12, where does Ware think he should be ranked?
"You know, I think I should be the number one guy on the list," Ware said on the network over the weekend. "But at the end of the day, people are going to vote you where they think you should be."
No. 12 is too low, but, um, No. 1 is probably a little high. Hard to fathom Ware not being a Top 10 player isn't it?
Keep the Dallas Observer Free... Since we started the Dallas Observer, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Dallas, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Dallas with no paywalls.