Tony Romo's current contract will end after the 2013 season, when he'll be 33 years of age. Will the Cowboys re-sign him? Your first reaction might be to think that if Jerry Jones wants Romo in Dallas, of course Romo will be in Dallas. But will Tony Romo himself want to re-sign with the Cowboys?
As Cowboys fans, we're inclined to think that it's every player's dream to retire a Cowboy, and that is especially true when we think about the storied history of our franchise quarterbacks.
Craig Morton is the only QB in the Cowboys' 51-year franchise history who did not retire a Cowboy after starting at least eight games in two consecutive seasons as a quarterback for the Cowboys. Eddie LeBaron, Don Meredith, Roger Staubach, Danny White and Troy Aikman all retired as Cowboys. Heck, even Drew Bledsoe, Brad Johnson and Jon Kitna retired as Cowboys in the last few years.
But if you were Tony Romo, would you re-sign with the Cowboys?
There is no question that Tony Romo is one of the top quarterbacks playing the game today. He has been ranked in the top ten in passer rating in every one of his six seasons in the NFL, yet only has three playoff appearances and one playoff win to his name. There is a widely held and perpetrated belief that Tony Romo is a key reason why the Cowboys have not had more postseason success. But what if it's exactly the opposite: what if the Cowboys are the reason Tony Romo hasn't had more postseason success?
The Star-Telegram quotes ESPN analyst Trent Dilfer on Romo:
"Tony has greatness in him," he said. "I think when you talk to other people that really play the quarterback position, and I see it as well, there's a few guys that really have incredible greatness in them, and Tony is one of them. I think the issue here is he needs more help from his teammates.
I think they are not nearly as talented as people say they are, from 1 to 53. I'm talking about the total roster. I don't think there's as much order and structure in the organization as the Giants have and the teams that have the elite quarterbacks have. I think the only thing that's keeping Tony from ascending into the upper echelon of quarterbacks is his team, is the help from his friends and his teammates, and I think once that all comes together, you're going to see the fullness of Tony's greatness come out."
As I was watching the playoffs over the last three weekends, I often wondered how much better most of the playoff teams would be with Romo under center. For now, that's a hypothetical discussion. But in two years, it will become a very real question.
Tony Romo will forever be considered a quarterback who put up gaudy stats but couldn't win in the postseason - unless he makes a deep run in the playoffs. He knows this, the Cowboys know this, the fans know this.
The next contract will be Tony Romo's last big contract in the NFL. If he is at all concerned about his legacy, he'll want to play for a serious contender for a couple more years. Today, the Cowboys are not that team.
The Cowboys gave Romo a chance as an undrafted rookie QB in the NFL. Tony Romo paid them back, and then some, with consistent top ten performances, and even threw in a couple of broken bones and a punctured lung for free. Now it's up to Jason Garrett and the Cowboys to show Romo that this is the team that will allow Romo to firmly establish himself in the "upper echelon of quarterbacks" in the NFL.
They have two years to do this.