Does Tony Romo have six more good years left?
"I actually think I probably am going to end up starting more years going forward than I did up to this point," Romo said.
The 32-year old Romo is entering his 10th season in the NFL, but as Romo himself pointed out to the DMN, he seasons as a starter in the league are nowhere near that number:
"I didn’t play for the first 3 1/2 (seasons), I missed basically a full season in another one," he said. "I guess I’ve only played five, 5 1/2 seasons of football, and it kind of feels like that. But 10 is definitely a bigger number."
"I actually think I probably am going to end up starting more years going forward than I did up to this point."
By that logic, Tony Romo is entering his sixth full season as the Cowboys' starting quarterback and thinks he'll probably play for at least five more years after 2012. Jon Machota of the DMN did the math on this and points out that those six years would see Romo playing at least until he's 38 years old - the same age as John Elway when he retired.
If you look at Romo's statement from an age point of view, playing until he's 38 will be a struggle. The oldest projected starting QBs this season are Matt Hasselbeck in Tennessee and Peyton Manning in Denver, both 36.
But if you look at this the way Romo does, six additional seasons would give him 11 total seasons as a starter. And that's not all that much. Matt Hasselbeck, Drew Brees and Tom Brady are all entering their 11th seasons as starters this year while Peyton Manning is looking to start his 14th season this year.
For any of this to happen though, the Cowboys have to find a way to effectively protect Romo on the field. If he continues getting injured at the rate he's been over the last few years, there's no way he'll play until he's 38. And even if he were to escape serious injury going forward, father time is not kind to quarterbacks who have to rely on their feet, especially if - like Romo - they have to rely on those feet to get them out of trouble.
Of course, there's also a contract angle to all of this. Romo's contract doesn't technically expire until 2016, but the final three years will void in two years, after the 2013 season. This means that the Cowboys and Romo are likely to engage in discussions about an extension soon. Romo talking about six more years of playing time can easily be seen as a not so subtle hint to the Cowboys as to what he thinks the parameters of that extension should be.
Does Tony Romo have six more good years left? Jerry Jones may have to answer that question with his wallet. The opening bell in the Romo extension talks has been rung. Stay tuned.