Yes, Jerry Jones and the Dallas Cowboys shelled out big bucks to retain the services of quarterback Tony Romo through the end of his career. Once it happened the Internet lit up with reaction, some level-headed analysis, some straight over-the-top disbelief, and everything in between. For the sake of being complete, I don't have a huge problem with the contract. Mainly because I think of the available options the Cowboys had, keeping Romo gives them the best chance to win.
One consistent meme here on BTB (at least for many), is that the Cowboys need to improve their offensive line for the team to win. Now that they've given so much more money to Romo, surely they're going to think about giving him some more protection. Todd Archer summed it up like this:
Jones has to be more Romo friendly by getting better offensive-line play and not hoping that an undrafted kid with a knee problem, like Ronald Leary, will become a steal. At the NFL scouting combine, Jones said the Cowboys could get by with less effective linemen because of Romo's ability to move around. Somehow he didn't see the faulty logic in that premise. Why wouldn't he imagine what a cleaner pocket could do for an accurate thrower like Romo?
I agree whole-heartedly with this assessment. Romo is a very accurate passer, clean pockets and legitimate play-action passes could make a world of difference.
But what I really want to focus on is the Romo-friendly part. I hand all the credit for this working theory to Mickey Spagnola at the mothership. His article makes this case, and you should give it a read. Here's the basics of what Spags strings together.
Earlier this offseason, Jerry Jones sent the Internet into a tizzy when he made statements about being more Romo-friendly on offense. He mentioned these things again at the Romo signing. Specifically saying:
"He is moving into a period of time where he can maximize all of his natural skills while continuing to build upon the talents that he has developed since entering the NFL. He has a proven-veteran-quarterback grasp of the intellectual side of the game. He knows how to run an offense and run a team."
Combining that with the ambiguity about who is going to call plays on offense in Dallas this season, and Mickey comes up with the thought that maybe the Cowboys are going to hand more of the play-calling, offensive direction to Romo on the field. We've all witnessed Romo's ability to run two-minute drills, calling the plays and directing the offense. Dallas has had amazing success in that style. Spagnola's take:
Who knows, but from what Jones and Romo have alluded to, maybe Romo will have more say in some of the play calls and game plans; maybe the Cowboys will run a little more hurry-up offense that he seems to thrive in; maybe the Cowboys will become more of a three-receiver-set offense that they seem to excel in.
Anyway, we’ll see where all this "he knows how to run an offense" and "significant level of input and contribution to the planning and implementing of our offensive approach" and "some of the other changes we’re making over here" ends up going.
QB's like Tom Brady and Peyton Manning have thrived when given greater control of the offense, they've become de facto offensive coordinators on the field. Could the Cowboys be looking to do that at some level with Romo in 2013?
I can't answer that for sure, and this is purely a conjecture on Spagnola's part. But I can say if it happened, I'd be a huge fan of trying it. Romo does seem to excel in those limited situations, it could be possible for Dallas to expand on that. You probably wouldn't do it for the whole game, but you could certainly try it for parts.